Today, 31 May 2019, is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman. Since there’s hardly anything I might add to what has already been written or spoken about him that would be an improvement, I’ll show my appreciation for his mind and spirit, his vision of life, by letting him speak for himself in this series of occasional blog posts, one on most Fridays, featuring some words of his that I’ve found most meaningful in my life.
There is that in me—I do not know what it is—but I know it is in me.
Wrench’d and sweaty—calm and cool then my body becomes,
I sleep—I sleep long.
I do not know it—it is without name—it is a word unsaid,
It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol.
Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on,
To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes me.
Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines! I plead for my brothers and sisters.
Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal
life—it is Happiness.
// from “Song of Myself,” Leaves of Grass (1855)