Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Little Poetry for You (Walt Whitman)

From Walt Whitman's "Starting from Paumanok" (in Leaves of Grass):
I will make the true poem of riches,
To earn for the body and the mind whatever adheres, and goes forward, and is not dropt by death.
I will effuse egotism, and show it underlying all—and I will be the bard of personality;
And I will show of male and female that either is but the equal of the other;
And sexual organs and acts! do you concentrate in me—for I am determin’d to tell you with courageous clear voice, to prove you illustrious;
And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present—and can be none in the future;
And I will show that whatever happens to anybody, it may be turn’d to beautiful results—and I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death;
And I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are compact,
And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any.

I will not make poems with reference to parts;
But I will make leaves, poems, poemets, songs, says, thoughts with reference to ensemble:
And I will not sing with reference to a day, but with reference to all days;
And I will not make a poem, nor the least part of a poem, but has reference to the Soul;
(Because, having look’d at the objects of the universe, I find there is no one, nor any particle of one, but has reference to the Soul.)

Whitman's poetry moves fast, doesn't it? When I read this out loud, I find myself hurrying, and a little breathless.

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