Wednesday, May 22, 2013

False Accusation

The following is a haibun. A haibun is a combination of typically prose and a haiku. (Modern haiku does not require a specific syllable count.)

The Brown Recluse isn't a common spider. Though its deadly reputation strikes fear into vast numbers of people that have never seen one and are unlikely to ever actually see one. Their range is limited to areas around Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, where I grew up. And even in their home range, they are rare enough. But outside their range, like here in California, people scurry from any spider which is unfortunate enough to be brown. Especially if it has anything looking like a marking on its back, since the "fiddleback" is one of the identifying marks of the Brown Recluse. But there have been only a handful of sightings of Brown Recluses in California. And these were all associated with people or things having come in from out of state. From back in Oklahoma, Texas or Arkansas. So many spiders, falsely accused of being a deadly Brown Recluse, are killed, merely for the crime of being brown.

little spiders
no innocence project saving
the falsely accused


  1. Mark,

    Thank you for introducing me to haibun. I'm intrigued by the idea and look forward to learning more about it.

    I am not intimidated by spiders; but, I don't like having them inside my house. Rather than to smash them, I usher them gently to my garden. Several years ago, my cousin was bitten by a spider that was said to have been a Brown Recluse. He didn't die, but was sick enough to be hospitalized.

    1. My brother had a nasty spider bite a few years ago. Also thought to be a Brown Recluse (of course he lives in Oklahoma). Of course this isn't to say that some other spiders don't have nasty bites. The Desert Recluse which are found in the Mojave can make people pretty sick.

      I too try to get the spider outside when one finds its way into the house. Most of the time I succeed. Sometimes I don't. But I try to find a peaceful way of removing the undesirable tenants.

  2. Haibun is new to me~But the brown recluse is not. The first time I heard of them was while working for the State of Arizona. Another employee was telling me about a person who had been bitten by one at a local motel and almost died and had to have a part of their upper arm cut away.
    With five little kids to care for at home I became a spider vigilante, and it is highly unlikely that I would check markings or other minutiae before killing one on sight.

  3. I used to play with Daddy Long-Legs spiders, I thought they were quite interesting. Once, at a friend's pet store, I held a Tarantula - It felt like little Q-tips brushing against my hand. Even though it kind of freaked me out, I faced my fears and was glad I did.

    My biggest feared spider is the Black Widow. Man, some of those are huge and just about any black spider makes me jump.

    Thanks for introducing the haibun. I liked your poem.

  4. My first knowledge of and warning about the brown recluse came from a friend before I was to leave on a trip to New Zealand and Australia. So, when a tour guide in the Blue Mountains announced her talk with "Things that will Kill you!" I perked right up and listened.

    Haibun is new to me, too. Thank you. xoA

  5. I had no clue brown recluses weren't native to California. I'm so glad I read this post.

  6. Here I am catching up on my blogs, reading about lovely oceans and beaches and family and here you go with...shudder, shudder...spiders. Ugh! Terrified of them! Nope, I don't check markings...if it's in the house, it dies. And I pay the pest service good money to hunt the ones lingering outside. Suspect this makes me a bad person...but I'm not sure I care. Lol...shudder, shudder. Seriously, I like your writing style even if I'm not fond of the particular subject of this post. :-)