In Whitman's Poem "A Noiseless, Patient Spider," What Is the Speaker Doing?

The speaker in Walt Whitman's poem, "A Noiseless, Patient Spider," is reflecting on his soul, using a spider as a metaphor. He is telling of when he watched an isolated spider working to make connections around him by spinning a web.

The spider he is speaking of was "isolated" on a small area of land and was trying to launch itself to surrounding areas. In the second stanza, the speaker addresses his own soul, saying it is "surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space" much like the spider was. The soul is like the spider, launching itself, trying to make connections to things around it, forming a web inside of him.