Walt Whitman Poems: A Noiseless Patient Spider

I’m not sure why this poem seems so hopeful, in the face of the vast universe, but, it is somehow comforting to think that if you just keep on, like the spider, you will find what you need.

It was originally part of a poem, Whispers of a Heavenly Death, but it seems more hopeful than that title, and was renamed for Passage to India.


A Noiseless Patient Spider

Portrait of Walt Whitman

Portrait of Walt Whitman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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.


(1862-3)  1881


Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

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