Monday

Nov. 11, 2002

Song of Myself (excerpt)

by Walt Whitman

MONDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2002
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Poem: Lines from "Song of Myself," by Walt Whitman.

1

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,
      this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
      their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
      forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

2

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are
      crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not
      let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the
      distillation, it is ordorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised
      and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the
      origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are
      millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor
      look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the
      specters in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things
      from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

3

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
      beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth and age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

4

Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the
      ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors
      old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I
      love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or
      loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful
      news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable
      certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering
      at it.

5

Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or
      lecture, not even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valvèd voice.

I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently
      turn'd over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged
      your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach'd till you felt my beard, and reach'd till you held
      my feet.



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