A Noiseless Patient Spider

by Anne Bennett on July 26, 2009

This little poem, from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, was read at our wedding nearly 30 years ago.  It remains my favorite poem because of the simplicity and eloquence of its message. When you read it, think about what it means to you, and if you will, leave a comment for us all to share.

spiders-web1

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 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 form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my Soul.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda July 26, 2009 at 10:31 am

How powerful!!

I was that spider 18 months ago, at my heaviest weight, having just been told that if I were to get pregnant, it would danger my baby’s life and my own. I would be considered high risk just because of my weight.

When I walked into that first WW meeting, I started spinning my web… Every step of the way, every leader, every member, my husband… has helped me spin my web. I may sometimes feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere, but now I have the support of my “web” to keep me feeling safe.

Linda July 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I have the inner resources I need to reach out, to make connections, to enrich my own life and to make progress. It’s not quick, it’s not always easy, but I must persist. The web of my progress and connections begins with me.

Clara July 29, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I wonder what was going on in Walt’s life when he wrote this. Was he lonely? Challenged with his career? Down on his luck?
And, not to be a stereotypical man basher, but I can’t believe a man wrote this. It’s clearly coming from an emotional place. Ann, since you sent it to me a few weeks ago, I’ve had it hanging in my office. I read it everyday. It’s exactly the kind of encouragement I need right now.

Liz B. July 30, 2009 at 10:17 am

The spider sounds alot happier than Walt.

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