I saw a tiny spider spin a web
Within my humble hut between two beams.
He tried to throw a thread across, it ebbed
Away.  He did not have the will, it seemed.
And then the tiny spider tried again,
Again he failed to reach the other side.
Five times the spider threw his thread, and then,
On the sixth try he conquered the divide.
With each attempt to win we gather strength.
We brace the will with failure and defeat.
We forge desire to win, we win at length.
We stretch our arms to win at war; we meet
Today a mighty army on the field:
The tiny spider taught me, “Never yield.”

Roibert a Briuis; Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland (1274 – 1329)


Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus

The little sparrow gives away her song
Without the slightest notion of its cost.
She chirps in sweetness all the morning long
And dies a little with each note that’s lost.
You cannot see her hidden in the leaves;
She is so tiny folded in the shade,
And yet her voice is larger than the tree
And soars as though it never was afraid.
Even the sweetest songs are sometimes sad,
As though a thorn were pricking through the heart,
But even in her death the bird is glad,
Ready to meet her God when she departs.
For, from the kindest moment of her birth
She spent her heaven doing good on earth.

Feast Day, October 3


Michael Curtis has 40 years of professional experience in architecture, sculpture, and painting.  He has taught and lectured at universities, colleges, and museums including The Institute of Classical Architecture, The National Gallery of Art, et cetera.  His paintings and sculptures are featured in over 300 private collections; his many public statues can be found in The Library of Congress, The Supreme Court, other public buildings and squares.  Professional experiences include Archivist of State Art (Michigan); guest curator, The Detroit Institute of Art; founder of art galleries; widely published poet; founding director of The National Civic Art Society, et cetera.

Featured Image: “Robert the Bruce reviewing His Troops Before the Battle of Bannockburn” by Edmund Blair Leighton (1853–1922).

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3 Responses

  1. Reid McGrath

    Two consummate sonnets as per usual Mike. Both the spider and the sparrow are admirable and exemplary specimens: heedless of their own obscurity and their “littleness” or “tininess” in the face of a sublime world. The poems have a soft and plaintive loveliness about them.

    • NealD

      Agreed. Reading The Sparrow, happily, slowed me down with the soft quality of the word flow. This was no small feat.

  2. NealD

    the poem Courage carries a compelling, haunting quality. I was reminded of the reading of Trumbull Stickney’s poem in the 2006 film The Good Shepherd. Thanks for sharing this work with everyone.


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