A Noiseless Patient Spider

A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

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.          5
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.   10

I first read this poem in high school. I literally can almost see the page in a textbook I’ve otherwise forgotten. As much as I don’t care for Whitman’s lengthy style (despite noting its value and necessity of length to capture the essence of his personal philosophy), I was instantly drawn to this poem. I don’t even like spiders.

I just read and understood. We are all tiny specks of nothing, endlessly reaching and exploring, striving to know those around us. We weave our webs of lives, fragile attempts to control that which is far beyond us. One can assume to know someone, but it is a farce we swallow on a regular basis. 

I think of how these spheres ebb and flow, planets in an endless ocean of the unknown. I looked up at the stars tonight, and saw two little pinpricks of light, right next to each other in the sky. They were separate, but aligned, and I wonder if it was fate or divine design. Can any two actually align or do we deceive ourselves in thinking that a life companion will stay? Furthermore, is it staying that proves the value, or is it more? I feel there is much more, but have little notion as to whether or not it is actually attainable. I wonder if our paths are really paths. They are measureless in dimension, because personalities have the propensity to change, and people grow. And where am I in space and time? 

I am a noiseless, learning-to-be-patient spider, standing on a promontory, ceaselessly attempting to reach out, to give to the world around me. I am a sphere alone, one silver thread keeping my sanity by its strength and impervious nature. This thread was not my own, yet I took hold of it, and it will never break.  


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