I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth--
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.

--Robert Frost

Photography by D'Arcy Allison-Teasley


  1. I first read this poem at my father's urging in...probably 9th grade, I think. It remains one of my favorites, probably my absolute favorite Frost poem--and possibly the single most terrifying poem I've ever read, in the closing lines, where the speaker would rather reject the concept of design and order than follow it to the logical conclusion--that the universe may not be ruled by ultimate Good, but rather by ultimate Evil.

  2. That's well put. Frost has so many great poems full of ideas. It's a shame most people know him from "The Road Not Taken," or rather from the inspirational spin it always seems to get in school. My favorite of his is probably "Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same," which, like "Design," suggests something about our propensity for finding symbols in nature.


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