by Gideon Burton
inspired by Walt Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider" (below)
Not anything can measure it, not light
nor miles nor time nor words like "depth" or "height"
and I am, insect-like, a speck, so slight
so blank so mute so pale within the white
yet poised along the cusp of sound and sight
some primal part, down deep where neurons bite
where forces stir that blurred primeval night
with white-hot wonder, blazing through the fight
to see: the sea, the scene, each atom bright
from here from me somehow so wide despite
my jellied lenses, dulled by mortal rites
yet lasering through all till all ignites.
Some filament is cast that cords the kite,
I board the flight, I soar though sore in sight.
image: creative commons licensed by John Barton
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.