April 24, 2007

Walt Whitman: “A Noiseless Patient Spider”

Posted in Poetry at 8:00 am by The Lizard Queen

My favorite Whitman poem is “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed,” but considering that one’s over six pages long (depending, of course, on font size and whatnot, but the bottom line is that it’s long), I thought I’d go with an alternate. But if you’re so inclined, I definitely recommend “When Lilacs…”.

A Noiseless Patient Spider

A noiseless patient spider,
I marked where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Marked how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launched 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 formed, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

–Walt Whitman, 1881


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