japonisme: from Song of Myself

01 February 2011

from Song of 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.

Houses and rooms
are full of perfumes—
the shelves are crowded
with perfumes;
I breathe the fragrance myself,
and know it and like it;
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume—
it has no taste of the distillation—
it is odorless;
It is for my mouth forever—
I am in love with it;
I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked;
I am mad for it to be
in contact with me.


The smoke of my own breath;
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine;
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs;
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore, and dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn;
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice,
words loos’d to the eddies
of the wind;
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms;
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag;
The delight alone, or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides; The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much?
have you reckon’d
the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long
to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud
to get at the meaning
of poems?

Stop this day
and night with me,
and you shall possess the origin of all poems;
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun—

(there are millions of suns left;)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead,
nor feed on the spectres in books;
You shall not look through my eyes either,
nor take things from me;
You shall listen to all sides, and filter them from yourself.


I have heard what the talkers were talking,
the talk
of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception
than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age
than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection
than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and
increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction,
always a breed of life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure,
plumb in the uprights, well
entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Walt Whitman

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Blogger vitalik shu said...

amazing post! thank you ^_^

01 February, 2011 21:20  
Blogger Nancy Ewart said...

This is such a beautiful response to the beauty of this week - from the fog in SF to the blue sky and fresh, brisk breeze. Of course, I love Walt Whitman but the poem has just touch a response chord in me and makes me very happy to read it, complete with lovely illustrations that you have chosen.

01 February, 2011 23:05  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks back to you, v. thanks for your enthusiasm. folks -- check out his artwork; it really reminds me of colin's.

i am so happy, nancy, that this has touched a chord in you as well. i probably have read it but suddenly it was like the first time. a whitman virgin. i could not believe how deeply his words mirrored my thoughts of recent days.

02 February, 2011 07:07  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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