Walt Whitman

by Libby Jennison

  Leaves of Grass may just be my favorite book that I have never read cover to cover.  If that sounds rather sad, that’s because it is a sorry thing.  But, I plan to remedy that come summer.

Whatever the sad state of my books-read-list, I can say that I have read many, many a tremendous excerpt from this masterpiece.  These poems are, for anyone that considers themselves to be a diction connaiseur or a wordsmith of any kind, a source of rich, compelling language.  He can be just downright delicious.

This here is the first part of Song of Myself:


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.