Poems of the Week

Dating on the Web

by Ruth S. Baker

“‘Ding, dong, it’s time’: dancing tarantulas emerge in droves to mate in western US
—The Guardian

He shuffles, he shimmies, he kicks with each leg
To render true tribute, and also to beg:
For this is the season when arthropods all
Respond to the ardor of Venus’s call,
And every arachnid who thinks he’s a man
Must dance for the ladies and catch as catch can.
In truth, though, the female’s a cultureless lump.
She’ll yawn and chew flies at the artfulest jump,
As if to say “Really?” or even “Yeah, right.”
But if a staunch suitor can muster his might
And conquer her crudeness and absence of class,
He may be successful, and then—O alas …
How loathsome’s the lot of the gentleman spider:
To mate with a savage, and end up inside ’er.