A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

Posted: January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

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, surrounded, 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.
 
I appreciated this poem in a sense that it had a nice subliminal meaning behind it. At first he does an exquisite job setting up your mental picture of what’s going on and portraying the such precise details that would please a quidnunc. Then he shows you that the spider was just a metaphor for his soul, which is longing someone to latch onto, much like a spider would with its web.
 
“A noiseless, patient spider, 
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; 
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,”
 
I liked this line a lot because it was perfectly descriptive. And the third line in which he says “to explore the vacant, vast surrounding” sets up the metaphor for his soul.
 
“And you, O my Soul, where you stand, 
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, 
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,”
 
This is where he starts talking about his soul. I enjoyed this because he’s describing how his soul was empty and surrounded in ‘measureless oceans of space’ just moving along. He’s pretty much saying that he’s lonely.
 
“Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.”
 
This is the last line of the poem and I felt like it tied the whole thing together. It brought back the spider metaphor by mentioning gossamer, which is a cobweb, and it also kept the idea that his lonely soul needs to catch somewhere, whether that be another person or a hobby.
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