Monday, March 9, 2009

Some Whitman

My friend's blog (To Someone Likeminded) featured a number of Walt Whitman snippets for some enjoyment in the last month, and I thought about giving to Whitman to my readers since I really liked having some shared with me. I found this really neat, short poem of his.

"A Noiseless Spider" by Whitman (from
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.

I hope you enjoy!

[For some self-analysis, however, I must add that I really love the idea of a spider "tirelessly"
sending out its spool of web--a part of its own being, a creation that it makes--and how the soul
attempts to "connect" them. I have been thinking about "only connect" lately since I have been
rereading Babel Tower for my Master's Project, and this little poem just fits so nice with that
idea of lose fragments, floating free, waiting to be connected.]


Courtney said...

Love it (of course)! I read some Whitman to my students today to encourage them to search for answers within. They were all like, what??

Haha, kids!

saragraph said...

i love the whitman piece and always have. here's another favorite of mine, "Design" by Robert Frost.

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth—
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth—
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?—
If design govern in a thing so small.

Laminated Fragments said...

Courtney, it is a shame your students didn't enjoy Whitman. Of course, I say that remembering that when I taught him it was kind of a disaster. I think I also approached it way wrong.

Saragraph - Love that poem. I had to memorize it in my American lit class in high school. I also think it's great because it is in sonnet form, which itself dictates a design.

saragraph said...

i remembered it because it also stars a spider.

i like it because it has that simile, "a moth/ like a white piece of rigid satin cloth."

i love it because it's about creation/creating/art/artifice. it was one of those pieces that when i read it made me feel like it was okay to question the idea of god.