Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Walt Whitman

In honor of Walt Whitman's birthday today, a poem of his to ponder:

To My Soul.1

As nearing departure,
As the time draws nigh, glooming from you,
A cloud—a dread beyond, of I know not what, dark-
ens me.

I shall go forth,
I shall traverse The States—but I cannot tell whither
or how long;
Perhaps soon, some day or night while I am singing,
my voice will suddenly cease.

O Soul!
Then all may arrive to but this;
The glances of my eyes, that swept the daylight,
The unspeakable love I interchanged with women,
My joys in the open air—my walks through the Man-
The continual good will I have met—the curious
attachment of young men to me,
My reflections alone—the absorption into me from
the landscape, stars, animals, thunder, rain,
and snow, in my wanderings alone,
The words of my mouth, rude, ignorant, arrogant—
my many faults and derelictions,

The light touches, on my lips, of the lips of my com-
rades, at parting,
The tracks which I leave, upon the side-walks and
May but arrive at this beginning of me,
This beginning of me—and yet it is enough, O Soul,
O Soul, we have positively appeared—that is enough.

1Whitman, Walt. "To My Soul." The Walt Whitman Archive. Ed. Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price.

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