(some of my wonderful friends are worried that I was bitten by another Recluse Spider.  This is my poem from 2014–not my best–but want you to know, no worries)


What is the message of the spider?

Open invitation from the resident

Into a pesticide-free home

Spaces in floorboards

Irresistible to the neighboring swamp

Despite the equalizer AKA feather duster

The spiders come in the night

They always nip me equally

One on each arm

Unless it’s a Recluse

She gets me in a circle of eight

The secret antidote is plantain

Or even aloe for the minor stings

I’ve been injected with venom so many times

That one day I expect to point my wrists at a wall

While cobwebs shoot out

Enabling me to scale the side of the tallest building in Florida

But I know there is a message

I used to fancy that I was SpiderWoman of folklore

Weaving my tales

My fantasies

My fantasies came true for others, not for me

What was the message there?

Observer and recorder of life

But never a recipient of those richly imagined dreams

We Romani are always looking at portents

The Sinte word for the spider storyteller is

“Shpina Paramichari”

She is telling me that the one nip on each arm

Represents balance

Be consistent in life

Be moderate while living

No important revelation

But a painful one

Just weave your life symmetrically

In order to function in harmony

I tend to forget every few years

Guess I need a reminder…

(c) 2014, 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Recluse Spider Web, creative commons


    1. Thanks ELG! I think it’s a Southern “thing” because we were apt to use Bloodroot up North. I always hated digging out splinters with a needle so when I tried plantain I was ecstatic! The best (and I’ll use the Latin name since it is the only way to identify the differences) would be Plantago lanceolata but second choice is Plantago major. This is different than the fried plantains (like bananas) that are so popular in the subtropics!

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  1. I usually ignore spiders in my house (if they don’t bother me, I don’t bother them), but I might feel differently toward a brown recluse. My sister was bitten on the leg by one a few years ago, and it took a long time to heal. I remember a hole sort of rotted out where it bit her.

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    1. Yes, they lay their eggs immediately under the skin. That’s why the plantain is so important. It immediately “pulls” out anything within hours. The venom, of course, is amazingly powerful. My disclaimer to anyone who is interested is that all of us are different and I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve been “Reclused” several times and each time I used the plantain/golden seal and came out unscarred. I’m so glad your sister is okay now. I can feel her pain!

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