The girl and the petals

Some time ago, a fairytale came across a girl 
sketching petals. Petal after petal. Round and round. 
The fairytale settled down to watch as the girl kept 
on, never raising her head, pausing only to sharpen 
her pencil. Petal after petal, round and round she 
went. And it wasn’t that they weren’t beautiful, or 
prepared to be part of something more. But now they 
were spreading across the floor. Petal after petal. 
Eventually the fairytale decided to take a short nap. 
You see, she could spend her whole life doing this. 


Spirally. Subsequently widely conveniently spirally. 
Namely exclusively spirally. Nearly namely 
generally exclusively spirally. Apparently slowly 
precisely steadily only nearly easily certainly early 
only easily abruptly slightly especially consequently 
only rapidly unusually perceptibly probably nearly 
horizontally continually slowly certainly briefly 
horizontally spontaneously gradually spontaneously 
nearly really fully scarcely only regularly regularly 
occasionally rarely accordingly only generally 
apparently quickly freely generally strongly slackly 
freely necessarily namely easily quietly steadily 
slowly slowly lastly clearly successively slowly 
successively successively equally apparently slightly 
completely exactly strongly abruptly only closely 
only periodically plainly strictly successively 
obviously admirably necessarily immediately 
spirally. Spirally. 


Catherine Vidler‘s collection of poems Furious Triangle was published by Puncher and Wattmann in 2011. She has a second collection forthcoming. Cath is the editor of trans-Tasman literary magazine Snorkel (

Cath says: I made ‘Spirally’ from Charles Darwin’s ‘On the movements and habits of climbing plants’. I searched for instances of the word ‘spirally’ in the text and listed them in order of appearance, as separated by all the other ‘-ly’ words which occurred between each instance (also listed in order). The poem finished when the ‘-ly’ word following ‘spirally’ was also ‘spirally’.