Visiting Walt Whitman

 

Preface to the 1st edition of Leaves of Grass:

“Here is what you shall do,

love the earth and sun and all the animals,

despise riches,

give alms to everyone that asks,

stand up for the stupid and crazy,

devote your income and labors to others,

hate tyrants,

argue not concerning God,

have patience and indulgance towards the people,

take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men,

go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young  and with the mothers of families,

read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,

re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,

dismiss whatever insults your own soul,

and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in it’s words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

~Walt Whitman

 The first time I touched these words, they rocked my core.  I was barely fifteen; simultaneously innocent and jaded.  Every hair on my body stood firm, as I beheld this new (to me) wild, natural mindset.  I heard him deeply and took every word to heart.  Was I a fool?  Surely, every teen is a fool; standing at the prespice of all that is possible, guided by Spirit, armed with only a sword and a rod, ready to step forward, into the air, into the abyss.

 

~ by francleablunt on January 19, 2011.

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