Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Leaves…leave…summer lives & leaves

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.         5

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;  10
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;  15
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;  20
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

~Walt Whitman (1819–1892), from  Leaves of Grass


  1. Anonymous08:43

    Thank you so much! I was captivated when I read these words. I am ashamed to say that although I had heard of Leaves of Grass, I had never read any of Walt Whitman's poems. Having been enchanted by the snippet you produced, I did a little research and find his story fascinating and will now read his work. You have educated me, Captain, my Captain.

  2. Merlin13:45

    The first stanza must be one of the most joyful of all literature :D

  3. Jillie,

    you're most welcome! So happy that I provided such enjoyment (and by the mere action of sharing).
    I love the lushness of the poetry of Whitman, an interesting man by all accounts. :-)

  4. Merlin,

    indeed!! Springs forth like the burst of a waterfall.

  5. Anonymous16:09

    Oh dear it has been so long ago that I read "Song of Myself".

    Thank you for reminding and sharing this wonderful touching poem.

    "Out of the rolling ocean the crowd"
    is beautiful as well:-)

    Greetings from Vienna,

  6. Gina,

    it's a great poem indeed, so very rich, so lyrical.

    You got me off daydreaming with your rec now while work awaits. Thanks (I guess!) :-D


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