Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The last Silkworm

My last silk worm, Madonna, is now busy at her cocoon. It is a task she seems to have embarked on reluctantly, loathe to acknowledge that maturity eventually catches up with every living thing, even a silkworm. She has been fussy, starting her cocoon again and again, so now there is a curtain of webbing along the entire side of her plastic box. It is as if she is trying to defy her instinct. But now she seems a little more focused, settling back on the tiny sucker-like crochets of her prolegs, her thorax pivoting around her abdomen as she spools out her silk.

Early yesterday, when I was cleaning out her box, I let her crawl along my clean hand. My last silkworm. She felt warm, plump, almost mammal-like, her feet lightly tapping at my skin, while her mouth touched my skin with something that seemed like insect kisses. After a few seconds I put her back into her clean box and held my hand up to the light, and where she had been was a fine trail of silk connecting one finger to the next. I am going to miss her.


Blogger Jud said...

Did you hear about the two silkworms that were in a race? They ended up in a tie.

Tue Feb 03, 02:41:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Groan...though oddly I'm grinning too (bit like a rainbow)! Thank you Jud.

Tue Feb 03, 02:44:00 pm  
Blogger Susanna said...

that is so beautiful...such great descriptive powers

Tue Feb 03, 03:30:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Your last one, already? It seems to have flown by these meagre few weeks.

Tue Feb 03, 06:28:00 pm  
Blogger Jud said...

Sorry for the bad pun, especially after such a thoughtful and well crafted post.

It has been fun to learn about silkworms from you.

Tue Feb 03, 07:36:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Jud! I don't know if you've ever read Rings of Saturn by W G Sebald - but the end of that set me off. It's really interesting.

Yes, Barbara - it is a very quick process really, but then I have not witnessed a moulting. I hope that some of these cocoons hatch out and I can begin the life-cycle again.

Thanks Susangalique - you are a very kind lady!

Wed Feb 04, 12:19:00 pm  
Blogger jem said...

Oh, that's beautiful. Maybe she took her time, just so she could have you all to herself. I like the image of that curtain she spun, as if she wanted a bit of privacy. Maybe she was disgruntled about the films you'd shared of her friends on this blog :)

Thu Feb 05, 11:24:00 am  

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