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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Walt Whitman's poem A Noiseless Patient Spider.


  1. Tituba says:

    this poem makes no sense at all, i have no idea why you would use this in your wedding vows. Peter(from Russia) you’re disgusting.

  2. Amanda Burchell says:

    I’m hoping to incorporate this poem into my wedding vows on October 11th 2007. As my fiance & I share a ‘thing’ for anchors.. he wanted the ‘anchor’ incorporated into the ceremony. I researched poems & found Walt Whitman’s’.
    It is also a clever analogy, I think for human/personal relationships… and particulary appropriate to my relationship. The ‘anchor’ was the first gift he gave me, on our 2nd meeting; he wears one himself.

    “… 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.”

    Amanda J Burchell (m. Mike D. Cook: 11th October 2007)

    BTW: Mike & I are both 50 years old… never too old! lol

  3. filip says:

    thanks i needed this for homework it was pretty good

  4. cody says:

    yo yo yo i like this a lot i love it. It is one of the best pomes that i had read

  5. J says:

    I believe that a spider wasnt just a random creature to compare to, rather Whitman brings it up to show what he has not yet achived. He is bringing up the idea of nature vs. man and that the spider doesn’t second guess, but that it is confident in what it does, confident in where it casts its filament. On the other side, the personas soul is capable of second guessing, isolated and is merely “fling{ing}” his thread, hoping to someday be like the spider.

  6. Mariposa says:

    I think this poem deals with lost souls, yes, but I think it also deals with making connections to other people. The spider is casting its gossamer out, trying to make a connection, just like we all need to reach out and make connections with each other in order to break the “isolation” in which both we and the spider hang.

  7. Socrates Volkova says:

    I belive that we are all like the spider. We have no consequnce of life or death, we start dying the moment we are born. We have to reach our goals, find our identity before it is too late and the final bell has toled. We are all patient to find our identity and compared to other creatures that may be out there we are noiseless and silent. We fling suicidally from branch to corner looking for somewhere to rest, something to be.

  8. Anonymous says:

    i really quite like this poem, its awesome, i love the way he compares the spider, endlessly striving to reach its goal of spinning its web to the soul endlessly striving to find an identity! its such a random comparison and its awesome!

  9. Frank says:

    I think he is relating us to that spider, it’s sending out hisself to his oppurtunities, evertirelessly unrealing trying to find more about his sourndings. Yet we are the same trying to acheive or goals, opening outselves to try to figure out the world around us. Were stuck where we are “till the gossamer thread you fling” i dunno this is what i got from it.

  10. anonymous says:

    the spider is forever creating its web to explore its vast surroundings.
    this is compared to the speaker’s soul because the soul is “ceaselessly musing.” it is always searching for spiritual fulfillment within its “measureless oceans of space,” similar to the spider’s vast surroundings.

    i don’t think the soul is waiting for a body as stated below. I think the soul is trying to…kinda discover itself. its in search of its identity, which it will not find until it creates the bridge between itself and whatever it is that it needs to find.

  11. peter says:

    in Russia, spider is term for a womans vagina. My dogs spider is leaking right now!

  12. marissa says:

    a noiseless patient spider: the spider is making a web, making a home for itself. kinda like a soul waiting for a body. the soul is making a bridge “till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere.”

  13. Jason says:

    this poem is very strange and i dont understand why the title has to do with a spider, i really dont get that

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