Words for Wednesday

Walt Whitman

An excerpt from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself:

Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion,
A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker,
Prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest.

I resist any thing better than my own diversity,
Breathe the air but leave plenty after me,
And am not stuck up, and am in my place.

(Full poem available at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45477/song-of-myself-1892-version.)

We just celebrated the 200th anniversary of Uncle Walt’s birth. The Atlantic recently had an excellent article about the importance of Whitman to the discovery of the US spirit:

What America lacked was what [Ralph Waldo] Emerson called for: an evocation of what being a democratic man or woman felt like at its best, day to day, moment to moment. We had a mind, the mind created by Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders, but we did not know our own best spirit

That was supplied, per Mark Edmunson (and I agree), by Whitman.

Do you have a favorite Whitman poem? Share it in the comments.

Image of Whitman found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

3 responses to “Words for Wednesday

  1. Diotima Mantineia

    Daughter of Fire that I am (Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in Aries), this is one of my faves, from Leaves of Grass.
    Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me,
    My embryo has never been torpid, nothing could overlay it.

    For it the nebula cohered to an orb,
    The long slow strata piled to rest it on,
    Vast vegetables gave it sustenance,
    Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths and deposited it with care.

    All forces have been steadily employ’d to complete and delight me,
    Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul.
    Whitman may have been a Gemini, but he had Moon in Leo and Mars in Aries. The Fire signs know that everyone is special. Especially them. 😀

  2. Diotima Mantineia

    Also, for some reason “Vast vegetables” always makes me laugh.

  3. I love that bit! I bet by “vast vegetables” he meant zucchini plants!

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