“The Spider
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory
It stood isolated.
How to explore
The vacant vast surrounding.
It launched forth
Filament, filament, filament.
Out of itself.
Ever unreeling them.
Ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my soul
Where you stand,
Surrounded, detach’d
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.”

Walt Whitman

Mystery. Risk. Excitement. Exhilaration. Courage. Reward. Freedom. Trust. Beauty. These are only some of the things that Whitman evokes for me in this poem. It encourages me to take a deep breath and fling out the next filament to keep my soul alive and on the move.

*This is a guest post. David is a lecturer in Art History for the Open University.  His ambition is to start each day with an open heart and mind.