Into this net of leaves, green as old glass
That the sun fondles, trembling like images
In water, this live net, swung overhead
From branch to branch, what swam? The spider’s thread
Is less passive, where it appears to float
Like a bright hair clinging to the wind’s coat.
Hot at work, history neither schemes nor grieves
Here where the soaking dead are last year’s leaves,
And over them slung, meshed with sun, a net
No creature wove, none frantically tried to fret.
The huge weight of time without its sting
Hangs in that greenly cradling woof. A wing
Has caught there, held. Held. But not to stay,
We know, who, how slowly, walk away.
Babette Deutsch, "The Net" from The Collected Poems of Babette Deutsch, published by Doubleday. Copyright © 1969 by Babette Deutsch. Reprinted by permission of Estate of Babette Deutsch.
Source: Poetry (May 1945).