The Cobweb By Raymond Carver: Reading and Meditation

August 16, 2020  • Todd Breyfogle

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The Cobweb, Raymond Carver


I see the spider thread in the morning light, strung from a cane in the rose bush across to the fence. It is a single strand—glistening and dancing to a breeze I cannot feel. It was not there yesterday. It will have disappeared by lunch. What does the spider hope to achieve? Or is this an experiment? A means of gliding transportation from one place to another…an early, or late, commute? I do not touch the cobweb. It does not touch me. In Carver’s poem, we are both the catchers and the caught. The web of memories, of meanings, evaporate in the silent sea, but reverberate through the cobweb hitched to the lampshade. We are the source of the breeze that shudders it. And in its intricacy, and the intricacy of the moment, we are confronted with our own temporality. Before long, we’ll be gone from here. What threads are we spinning, and to what end?

Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado

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