Here are two poems that create a feeling like sympathy, through the method of observation. One is by the 19th-century poet John Clare, who was a self-educated, impoverished farm worker. The other is by Elise Partridge, a young American poet living in Canada, whose first book, Fielder's Choice, is published by the Canadian press Signal Editions. Partridge first:
One wing-tip was stuck to one silk thread.
He ran his six legs through thin air
like a cartoon character,
his abdomen to his jerking head.
But the shivering web wouldn't give way.
It had been spun in a couple of hours,
wired casually to a flower.
writhed above the vetch for half a day.
The spinner was nowhere to be found.
A woodchuck had ripped the web at dawn,