Louise Wakeling – If spiders dream

Louise Wakeling LEP&W V1 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One December 2022.

 If spiders dream, Poems by Louise Wakeling.

If spiders dream

you might dream, nightmares
just might electrify your spider brain
as they do mine, curl and uncurl
legs, involuntary spasms

rich with memory. do you recap
your day, reprise smart mating moves
or hunter-gatherer leaps
and bounds on hapless prey?

are those REM movements
quivering in your several eyes
(purloined Indian jewels
burning in your crown)

are those images flickering
on and off, you, suspended
on a thread, asleep-awake, twitching
in your slow dream-weaver’s spiral?

A strathspey in Pérouges

Somewhere down a winding alley the music of a fiddle lingers.
Artisans of handmade paper close their shutters.
Galettes Perougiennes cooling on the window-sills
of bakeries vanish into air still lemony and sweet

Syncopated rhythm pours from a garden near a cobbled street –
a vine espaliered on stone pirouettes, a skinny dancer.
Beyond the eye-sockets of ancient ramparts, the valley
of the Ain unfolds. The fiddler taps his foot, beckons me in –

buoyant on an air by a Scottish soldier, British agent
parachuted into Vichy France, embedded with maquisards
to sabotage German trains, long-distance telephone cables.

I listen from a solitary stone seat. Betrayed to the Gestapo
tortured by the Butcher of Lyons, he tells them nothing.
They bundle him onto a train to Germany just weeks before Liberation

but his strathspey air remains: a voice so weirdly in and out
of place, the short-long, long-short bounce of it,
a ‘Scotch snap’ in 4/4 time. Its pointed rhythm rises still
to greet me, spills across a ruined wall

Till death do us part

she’s no beauty the fanfin anglerfish
just a girl doing what comes naturally
evolution’s wild card floating
her goth allure in the midnight zone

half a million times lighter
the male nose-works her pheromones
lured by her luminescence
light bacteria pulsing in darkness
all eyes now he bites into her stomach
latches on flesh fused melting

in that dark abyss
he wouldn’t last too long alone
biological imperatives
speak through her gaping maw
always open translucent fangs
snapping shut on prey
final as a prison gate

atrophied sans eyes
and certain vital organs
no need to hunt
he’s a dangling appendage
bound for life a nut-sack
to be honest on tap
his entire existence

he ain’t heavy he’s her parasite
bloodstream fused with hers
nutrients hers movement hers alone
Whither thou goest I will go

© Louise Wakeling

Louise Wakeling was born not far from Botany Bay at Arncliffe in Sydney.  Though she would like nothing better than to sojourn in the south of France, she feels she has come home since she moved to Dharug/Gundungurra country in the Blue Mountains.

Her poetry has been published online in journals such as Burrow (2020-2) and in the print or online anthologies The Best Australian Poems (2010), Antipodes (2011), Guide to Sydney Rivers (2015), Contemporary Poetry (2016), Caring for Country (2017), Wild Voices: An anthology on wildlife (2019), Messages from the Embers, an Australian Bushfire anthology (2020) and Guide to Sydney Crime (2022). She has also been published in the forthcoming anthology, The Best Australian Science Writing, (New South Press, 2022), to be launched by Dr Norman Swan.

She is currently working on a fifth collection of poetry begun during the fallow period of the covid pandemic, and a novel set in London and Sydney which explores intergenerational trauma and survival in the lives of three women between WW1 and the early 1970s.  Off Limits (Puncher & Wattmann, 2021) is her fourth and latest collection of poetry, where her subjects range across ecopoetics, sewer-surfing and the tragi-comedy of relationships.

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