The Net

By Babette Deutsch 1895–1982 Babette Deutsch
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).


This poem originally appeared in the May 1945 issue of Poetry magazine

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May 1945
 Babette  Deutsch


Poet, novelist, editor, and critic Babette Deutsch was born and lived much of her life in New York City. She began to publish poems in journals such as the New Republic while a student at Barnard College, where she earned a BA. Two years after her graduation, she published her first poetry collection, Banners (1919).
Aligned with the Imagist movement, Deutsch typically composed compact, lyrical pieces using crisp visual . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Living

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Couplet

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