Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert)

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Oct-27-1999
  • Last revised: Aug-31-2006


The speaker looks around his sick room. "The tassel of a blind swings constantly." He identifies the room with "the hollow rind of a fruit," where a spider with its legs folded "lies on the dust." In fact, he is the spider.

And what is there outside the window? Only a gray cave "with great spider-cloths hanging / low from the roof." The people he can see are nothing but "spiders with white faces" scuttling around the cave. "Ah, but I am ill, and it is still raining, coldly raining!" [13 lines]


This short poem is a wonderful evocation of the experience of illness. The patient feels like a spider crouching mindlessly in a rotting piece of fruit. The world has turned into a dark cave with scuttling white-faced spiders everywhere. Can you imagine a better description of how a person feels during a bad bout of influenza?

Primary Source

The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence


Viking Penguin

Place Published

New York