Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Speaking of Poetry...

One of the places I like to go when troubled - and even when not - is Whitman, particularly his Song of Myself. It is a marvelous, expansive celebration of life in all its difficult contradictions summed up in the well known lines of verse 51:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

And then you get to a certain age, and other parts such as this (from verse 52) come into focus:

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

No comments: