Sunday, May 31, 2015

Walt Whitman: a birthday today

 from A Book of Days for the Literary Year

On this day in "1819  Walt Whitman is born in West Hills, Long Island.  Robert Louis Stevenson will find the poet  'a most surprising compound of plain grandeur, sentimental affection, and downright nonsense,' while Whitman's self-appraisal is: 'I am as bad as the worst, but thank God I am as good as the best.' "

This is one of my favorite poems by Whitman.  It is posted at the bottom of the blog page, but I doubt few ever get down that far.  I have posted it before and even suggested it be named the Official World Wide Web Poem.

A Noiseless Patient Spider 

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
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

-- Walt Whitman --

"Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space"  

"Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of cyberspace"

Is it not the WWW Poem?

Can you suggest one you think would be more appropriate?   I would love to read it. 


  1. Perfect, Fred! I'm hopelessly entangled in the web - takes far too much time to extract myself.

  2. madamevauquer,

    Hah! Great--I hadn't seen that characteristic before: "entangled in the web."