A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

This beautiful and meaningful poem by Walt Whitman touched my inner depths when I read it …by accident…last night.

It does seem to be about the writer comparing himself to the spider in his search for the meaning of life, or maybe his search for other souls of like mind. Hmm it looks like I am saying the spider is searching for the meaning of life here…and why not? Usually when I see a spider’s web I assume he or she is searching for sustenance but maybe food for the soul is involved as well. I wonder what Walt would have thought of the internet. Plenty of spiders looking for connection here. Well I hope that if you are out there searching for meaning you will read this poem and find some.

Walt Whitman, in full Walter Whitman, (born May 31, 1819, West Hills, Long Island, New York, U.S.—died March 26, 1892, Camden, New Jersey), American poet, journalist, and essayist whose verse collection Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855, is a landmark in the history of American literature. Read More

And if you want to listen to a beautiful reading of this poem go here.

And /or, if you are looking for scholarly articles on the poem’s meaning go here