Robert Hooke, In A Spider's Eye - Poem by Jay Mandeville
MICROGRAPHIA catches its prey-
a spider's fate enlarged upon...
a mini-drama commemorating...what,
exactly? The spider is 'small...
grey...prettily bespecked with
black spots...' which Hooke, the
17th century micro-experimentalist
texturizes as 'feathers...like butterflies'
wings, or the body of the white moth.'
Next, our 1665 observer suddenly catches
his lens-magnified subject 'setting itself
on its hinder legs', & astonishingly,
'leaping like a grass hopper almost',
all 6 eyes 'look[ing] round itself every way...'
Yet there is something still more uncanny
to be seen: within each of these
arachnid eyes 'very black...spherical,
purely polished', Robert Hooke insists he sees,
incredibly detailed (dancing on the
head of a pin, as it were) ...
an image, 'clear & distinct...of all
ambient objects...a window, a man's hand, '
a page of 'white paper'...
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