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Mon, 15 Mar 1999 18:45:25 +0000
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The point I think Pound made concerns the scale on which we live. Or as
an entomologist friend of mine once described it so aptly--"an ant's
biggest perceived problem isn't people--first it's other ants, and
usually, after that other insects." And when you think about it --it
applies universally--human beings' biggest perceived problem are other
people--cats, other cats, etc. The perception on one level--the level of
the dragon world, the human world, is always somewhat correct. It
excludes a macroscopic outlook. So while to you an ant is either
something momentarily interesting to watch, or something annoying to
kill--that lone scout out there in the backyard travailing new territory
and gathering intelligence, sometimes making it back to the colony with
useful information about dragons and other problematic scenarios,
sometimes not as it does single combat with scouts from other colonies
and faces hazards we can only imagine, that ant is a centaur in its
dragon world.
I think it safe to assume that something that large and terrible in an
ant's world could be thought of as a "dragon". As I said in the earlier
post--this is not the only hazard in its dragon world--another being the
truest equivalent of dragons, i.e. lizards, some of which are
exceedingly fond of ants. I don't think black widows are in active
pursuit of ants--the whole scheme of a web-bearing spider is a passive
kind of hunt, not unlike a fisherman or trapper. The ant however needs
to be wary of these traps just as some of the mythical heroic figures in
Pound's poetry needed to avoid hazards--dragons, gorgons, cyclopes, etc.
The other alternative is to do intended battle with them, which ants are
also capable of doing in very organized and martial way.
TLeon Surette wrote:
>         But Gavin, why does Pound call black widow spiders dragons? I did in
> fact speculate that perhaps he meant that ants were small relative to cows
> and such like, but that seems a small yield. And are you quite sure that
> ants are the usual prey of black widow spiders?