03 November 2016

Poetry Thursday - 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, 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.

by Walt Whitman (1819-1892) (via)

Largely self-taught, Whitman was one of nine children and worked in New York as a printer and teacher until 1841, when he turned to journalism. Leaves of Grass was self-published in 1855 and enlarged in 1856 and in further editions throughout his lifetime. During the Civil War he moved to Washington DC to nurse his wounded brother and stayed for 11 years, working in hospitals. He struggled to survive until the 1882 publication of Leaves of Grass gave him enough money to buy a small house in Camden, New Jersey.

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