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A Noiseless, Patient Spider

When I looked for a poem to post, I found this Walt Whitman verse. It reminded me of the writing of Mary Oliver, Parker Palmer, Thomas Merton, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others who write about the quietness needed for the soul to emerge. It is like to a wild animal, perhaps a spider, which is timid and reluctant to emerge as we crash around. As we sit quietly and listen, it emerges for us to see and listen more closely.

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.

About ivonprefontaine

I am a retired educator who is currently completing a PhD. Prior to teaching, I worked in private industry for 15 years and returned to university to earn my education degree. For the last 17 years I taught, I was a teacher in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. My dissertation topic is how teachers experience becoming who they are as teachers, as human subjects.

13 responses »

  1. Precious, a poem that transcends the time in which it was written.

  2. Love this poem. Good post. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  3. Merci Yvon! j’aime bcp Walt Whitman – depuis le lycée… un week-end formidable et serein! amicalement, Mélanie

  4. “Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul” – how magically wrought..

  5. Unusual but fascinating. In many ways it sounds like my own life especially the last line. I finally found that I could stand before an audience and teach by depending not on myself but on the one who created me. It was a changing point for me.
    This is a different spider tale but I have witnessed a spider as it “reeled in” its filament. Have you ever seen such a thing? It was amazing.


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