Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year with Walt Whitman

Song of the Open Road excerpt

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,

I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill'd with them, and I will fill them in return.)

From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines,

Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that
would hold me.

I inhale great draughts of space;

The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me,
I can repeat over to men and women
You have done such good to me,
I would do the same to you.

I will recruit for myself and you as I go,
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,
I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,
Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,

Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.


(The entire text of this lovely poem can be found in multiple places on the web. It creates a pause or space for contemplation of a New Year, a New Decade, a New World.
What do you want to create in the years ahead?)

Love to All, and Peace Be With You.

p.s. I had no idea Whitman was so controversial. Thanks to all who posted comments. I've had my first New Year's education. xoxo (I am sincere in my thanks.)


Kass said...

Love this poem. It IS good for the New Year! Did you take that great picture?

June Calender said...

I'd love to drive that fantastic road! Wonderful picture.

Whitman's overwhelming narcissism usually bothers me but he redeems himself in part 5 that you quote. He is willing to listen and to share. thanks for the quote.

lori vliegen said...

what a beautiful poem.....and such a fabulous photo to go with it!!! and marie....i'm crazy for your Christmas zentangle!!! wow! it's absolutely fabulous! and your lettering is fantastic, too!! thank you SO much for sharing your creative self with have inspired me in ways you'll never know! i'm wishing you a very artful new year.....cheers!! hugs, :))

Kass said...

After June's comment, I had to google Whitman's narcissism. You know how into the subject I am. June seems to know a lot about a lot of things. Here's what I found (in part):

I hear and behold God in every object, yet I understand God not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.
—Song of Myself

Walt Whitman was a narcissist. His narcissism began in childhood when, as an infant unable to idealize his father or detach from his mother, he became his own love-object. Whitman’s attachment to his mother and disappointment in his father lasted throughout his lifetime and complicated his role in the Whitman family. His narcissism was the cause of both his obsession with the public’s reception of his work and his determination to be the nation’s poet. It is also the root of the autoeroticism in his poetry and an explanation of the fractured self his poetry portrays. Most poignantly, Whitman’s narcissism informed his homosexual impulses and the commingled pleasure and torture Whitman experienced as a nurse in the Civil War hospitals.

June Calender said...

Wow, Kass, you said it better than I could. thanks for digging into the facts.