Walt Whitman Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Walt Whitman. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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Resist much, obey little.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.
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Walt Whitman
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Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
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Walt Whitman
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We were together. I forget the rest.
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Walt Whitman
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I have learned that to be with those I like is enough
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Walt Whitman
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Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
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Walt Whitman
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Be curious, not judgmental.
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Walt Whitman
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I am large, I contain multitudes
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.
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Walt Whitman
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Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself. It is not far. It is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
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Walt Whitman
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Do anything, but let it produce joy.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.
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Walt Whitman
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Peace is always beautiful.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged. Missing me one place, search another. I stop somewhere waiting for you.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
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Walt Whitman
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This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
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Walt Whitman
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I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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These are the days that must happen to you.
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Walt Whitman
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Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.
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Walt Whitman
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Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us; shedding light over this world can alone help us.
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Walt Whitman
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We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering... these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love... these are what we stay alive for.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards.
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Walt Whitman
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The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
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Walt Whitman
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Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you/ That you may be my poem/ I whisper with my lips close to your ear/ I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
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Walt Whitman
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I like the scientific spiritβ€”the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fineβ€”it always keeps the way beyond openβ€”always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistakeβ€”after a wrong guess.
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Walt Whitman (Walt Whitman's Camden Conversations)
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I exist as I am, that is enough, If no other in the world be aware I sit content, And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself, And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years, I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.
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Walt Whitman
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Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.
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Walt Whitman
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If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.
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Walt Whitman
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And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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If you done it, it ain't bragging.
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Walt Whitman
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Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I am satisfied ... I see, dance, laugh, sing.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I exist as I am, that is enough.
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Walt Whitman
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I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.
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Walt Whitman
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In the faces of men and women, I see God.
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Walt Whitman
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Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
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Walt Whitman
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I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone, I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again, I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.
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Walt Whitman
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The real war will never get in the books.
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Walt Whitman
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I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass: The Death-Bed Edition)
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I tramp a perpetual journey.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
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Walt Whitman
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All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
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Walt Whitman
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O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithlessβ€”of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the lightβ€”of the objects meanβ€”of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of allβ€”of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the restβ€”with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurringβ€”What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are hereβ€”that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me. Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Argue not concerning God,…re-examine all that you have been told at church or school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul…
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Walt Whitman
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I cannot be awake, for nothing looks to me as it did before, or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.
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Walt Whitman
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Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Your very flesh shall be a great poem...
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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There is no God any more divine than Yourself.
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Walt Whitman
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I Think it is lost.....but nothing is ever lost nor can be lost . The body sluggish, aged, cold, the ember left from earlier fires shall duly flame again.
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Walt Whitman
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The future is no more uncertain than the present.
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Walt Whitman
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Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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O captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done. The ship has weather'd every wrack The prize we sought is won The port is near, the bells I hear The people all exulting While follow eyes, the steady keel The vessel grim and daring But Heart! Heart! Heart! O the bleeding drops of red Where on the deck my captain lies Fallen cold and dead.
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Walt Whitman
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From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines.
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Walt Whitman
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Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass, Be not afraid of my body.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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--> This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless, Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson Β Β  Β done, Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the Β Β  Β themes thou lovest best, Night, sleep, death and the stars. β€” Walt Whitman, β€œA Clear Midnight,” Leaves of Grass. Originally published: July 4, 1855.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least.
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Walt Whitman
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Love the earth and sun and animals, Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, Stand up for the stupid and crazy, Devote your income and labor to others... And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
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Walt Whitman
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Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find."
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Walt Whitman
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My words itch at your ears till you understand them
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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I will sleep no more but arise, You oceans that have been calm within me! how I feel you, fathomless, stirring, preparing unprecedented waves and storms.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls.
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Walt Whitman
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To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
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Walt Whitman
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I act as the tongue of you, ... tied in your mouth . . . . in mine it begins to be loosened.
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Walt Whitman
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If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good help to you nevertheless And filter and fiber your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop some where waiting for you
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)β€”Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the worldβ€”a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most gloriousβ€”surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.
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Walt Whitman (Complete Prose Works)
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I accept Time absolutely. It alone is without flaw, It alone rounds and completes all, That mystic baffling wonder.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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You will hardly know who I am or what I mean
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Walt Whitman
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I exist as I am, that is enough, If no other in the world be aware I sit content, And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself.
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Walt Whitman
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Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road. Healthy, free, the world before me. The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose. Henceforth, I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune. Henceforth, I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.
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Walt Whitman (Songs for the Open Road: Poems of Travel and Adventure)
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I will You, in all, Myself, with promise to never desert you, To which I sign my name.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I and this mystery, here we stand.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean But I shall be good health to you nonetheless And filter and fibre your blood.
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Walt Whitman
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If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.
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Walt Whitman
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This hour I tell things in confidence/ I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.
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Walt Whitman
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The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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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.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Are you the new person drawn toward me? To begin with, take warning - I am surely far different from what you suppose; Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal? Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd satisfaction? Do you think I am trusty and faithful? Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me? Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man? Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell
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Walt Whitman
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it makes such difference where you read
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Walt Whitman
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Loafe with me on the grassβ€”loose the stop from your throat; Not words, not music or rhyme I wantβ€”not custom or lecture, not even the best; Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
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Walt Whitman
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But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?
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Walt Whitman
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Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard." [Give me the splendid silent sun]
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Walt Whitman (The Complete Poems)
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The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted, Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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The road to wisdom is paved with excess. The mark of a true writer is their ability to mystify the familiar and familiarize the strange.
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Walt Whitman
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storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning, Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing, I tread day and night such roads.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body. [From the preface to Leaves Grass]
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Oh captain my captain
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Walt Whitman
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You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not 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.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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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. 32. I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self-contained, I stand and look at them and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussiong their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth. 52. The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and loitering. I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Oh, to be alive in such an age, when miracles are everywhere, and every inch of common air throbs a tremendous prophecy, of greater marvels yet to be.
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Walt Whitman
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have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?
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Walt Whitman
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The question, O me! so sad, recurring - What good amid these, O me, O life? That you are here - that life exists and identity, that the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
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Walt Whitman (The Leaves of Grass)
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Clear and sweet is my soul, clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Walt Whitman is HOT! I mean, that guy could sound his barbaric yawps over the roofs of my world any time.
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John Green
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I meet new Walt Whitmans everyday. There are a dozen of them afloat. I don't know which Walt Whitman I am.
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Walt Whitman
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I have said that the soul is not more than the body, And I have said that the body is not more than the soul, And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's-self is,
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Walt Whitman
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When I heard the learn’d astronomer; When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me; When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them; When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
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Walt Whitman
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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.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition)
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I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again / I am to see to it that I do not lose you
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Walt Whitman
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Long have you timidly waded Holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, Rise again, nod to me, shout, And laughingly dash with your hair.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Agonies are one of my changes of garments.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition)
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The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.
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Walt Whitman
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I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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To have great poets, there must be great audiences.
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Walt Whitman
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Whoever is not in his coffin and the dark grave, let him know he has enough.
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Walt Whitman
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Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
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Walt Whitman
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Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, when I give I give myself.
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Walt Whitman
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Unscrew the locks from the doors ! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs !
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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We all fear loneliness, madness, dying. Shakespeare and Walt Whitman, Leopardi and Hart Crane will not cure those fears. And yet these poets bring us fire and light.
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Harold Bloom (The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life)
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Be not dishearten'd -- Affection shall solve the problems of Freedom yet; Those who love each other shall become invincible.
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Walt Whitman
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The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.
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Walt Whitman
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I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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A blade of grass is the journeywork of the stars
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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O YOU whom I often and silently come where you are, that I may be with you; As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the same room with you, Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.
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Walt Whitman
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What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life.
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Walt Whitman
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Only themselves understand themselves and the like of themselves, As souls only understand souls.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I believe in the flesh and the appetites; Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from; The scent of these arm-pits, aroma finer than prayer; This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I am for those who believe in loose delights, I share the midnight orgies of young men, I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers.
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Walt Whitman
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TO the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little, Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved, Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after-ward resumes its liberty.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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These are all direct quotes, except every time they use a curse word, I'm going to use the name of a famous American poet: 'You Walt Whitman-ing, Edna St. Vincent Millay! Go Emily Dickinson your mom!' 'Thanks for the advice, you pathetic piece of E.E. Cummings, but I think I'm gonna pass.' 'You Robert Frost-ing Nikki Giovanni! Get a life, nerd. You're a virgin.' 'Hey bro, you need to go outside and get some fresh air into you. Or a girlfriend.' I need to get a girlfriend into me? I think that shows a fundamental lack of comprehension about how babies are made.
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John Green
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I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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WE two boys together clinging, One the other never leaving, Up and down the roads going, North and South excursions making, Power enjoying, elbows stretching, fingers clutching, Arm'd and fearless, eating, drinking, sleeping, loving. No law less than ourselves owning, sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening, Misers, menials, priests alarming, air breathing, water drinking, on the turf or the sea-beach dancing, Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness chasing, Fulfilling our foray.
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Walt Whitman
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I refuse putting from me the best that I am.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Stand up for the Crazy and Stupid
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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The sum of all known value and respect, I add up in you, whoever you are.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Sometimes with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn'd love; But now I think there is no unreturn'd loveβ€”the pay is certain, one way or another; (I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return'd; Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)
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Walt Whitman
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When I give, I give myself
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Walt Whitman
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I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me, The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.
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Walt Whitman
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I celebrate myself," the poet Walt Whitman wrote. The thought is so delicious it is almost obscene. Imagine the joy that would come with celebrating the self β€” our achievements, our experiences, our existence. Imagine what it would be like to look into the mirror and say, as God taught us, "That's good.
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Joan D. Chittister (Light in the Darkness: New Reflections on the Psalms for Every Day of the Year)
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poor boy! I never knew you, Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you
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Walt Whitman (Drum Taps)
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Oh while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me
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Walt Whitman
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After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains; to bring out from their torpid recesses, the affinities of a man or woman with the open air, the trees, fields, the changes of seasons β€” the sun by day and the stars of heaven by night.
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Walt Whitman
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This is the city, and I am one of the citizens/Whatever interests the rest interests me
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Walt Whitman
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To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all.
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Walt Whitman
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Of Equality--as if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself--as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I wear my hat as I please, indoors or out.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough...the fact will prevail through the universe...but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall so: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body...
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.
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Walt Whitman
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O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up - for you the flag is flung - for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths - for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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These are the days that must happen to you
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Are you the new person drawn toward me?
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Walt Whitman
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Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.
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Walt Whitman
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What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law; Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
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Walt Whitman
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And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing.
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Walt Whitman
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All truths wait in all things, They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it, They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon, The insignificant is as big to me as any, (What is less or more than a touch)...
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Walt Whitman
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Copulation is no more foul to me than death is.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition)
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For we cannot tarry here, We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger, We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend, Pioneers! O pioneers!
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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We wish we could have been there for you. We didn't have many role models of our own--we latched on to the foolish love of Oscar Wilde and the well-versed longing of Walt Whitman because nobody else was there to show us an untortured path. We were going to be your role models. We were going to give you art and music and confidence and shelter and a much better world. Those who survived lived to do this. But we haven't been there for you. We've been here. Watching as you become the role models.
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David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)
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When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while holding me by the hand, … Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am silent, I require nothing further, I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of identity beyond the grave, But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied, He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.
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Walt Whitman
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Why should I wish to see God better than this day? I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then, In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass; I find letters from God dropped in the street, and every one is signed by God's name, And I leave them where they are, for I know that others will punctually come forever and ever.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I henceforth tread the world, chaste, temperate, an early riser, a steady grower.
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Walt Whitman
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If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle.
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Walt Whitman
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And as to you life, I reckon you are the leavings of many deaths, / No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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You know me now. I’m only good at beginnings.
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Allen Ginsberg
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I lean and loaf at my ease... observing a spear of summer grass.
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Walt Whitman
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Thought Of equality- as if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself- as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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My spirit has pass'd in compassion and determination around the whole earth. I have look'd for equals and lovers an found them ready for me in all lands, I think some divine rapport has equalized me with them
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I sing the body electric, The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them, They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them, And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Press close, bare-bosomed Night! Press close, magnetic, nourishing Night! Night of south winds! Night of the large, few stars! Still, nodding Night! Mad, naked, Summer Night! from Strophe 21, "Song of Myself
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I see great things in baseball.
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Walt Whitman
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In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.
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Walt Whitman
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Pleasured equally In seeking as in finding, Each detail minding, Old Walt went seeking And finding.
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Langston Hughes
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And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and can be none in the future, And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turn'd to beautiful results, And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death, And I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are compact, And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any.
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Walt Whitman
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You have not known what you are--you have slumber'd upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return? The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk;
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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All music is what awakes within us when we are reminded by the instruments; It is not the violins or the clarinets - It is not the beating of the drums - Nor the score of the baritone singing his sweet romanza; not that of the men's chorus, Nor that of the women's chorus - It is nearer and farther than they
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise, Regardless of others, ever regardful of others, Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man, Stuffed with the stuff that is course, and stuffed with the stuff that is fine, one of the nation, of many nations, the smallest the same and the the largest
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin , or even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things.
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Walt Whitman
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Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight? (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.) Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely. Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
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Allen Ginsberg
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You sea! I resign myself to you also- I guess what you mean, I behold from the beach your crooked fingers, I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me. We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land, Cushion me soft, rock me billowy drowse, Dash me with amorous wet, I can repay you.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning, How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn'd over upon me, And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart, And reach'd till you felt my beard, and reach'd till you held my feet.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough, To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough, To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough, To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a momentβ€”what is this, then? I do not ask any more delightβ€”I swim in it, as in a sea.
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Walt Whitman
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My lovers suffocate me! Crowding my lips, and thick in the pores of my skin, Jostling me through streets and public halls...coming naked to me at night, Crying by day Ahoy from the rocks of the river...swinging and chirping over my head, Calling my name from flowerbeds or vines or tangled underbrush, Or while I swim in the bath....or drink from the pump on the corner....or the curtain is down at the opera.....or I glimpse at a woman’s face in the railroad car; Lighting on every moment of my life, Bussing my body with soft and balsamic busses, Noiselessly passing handfuls out of their hearts and giving them to be mine
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Walt Whitman
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This is the female form, vapor, A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot, It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction, I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it, Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heavaen or fear'd of hell, are now consumed, Mad filament, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable...
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900. To You WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands; Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you, Your true Soul and Body appear before me, They stand forth out of affairsβ€”out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem; I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you. O I have been dilatory and dumb; I should have made my way straight to you long ago; I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you. I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you; None have understood you, but I understand you; None have done justice to youβ€”you have not done justice to yourself; None but have found you imperfectβ€”I only find no imperfection in you; None but would subordinate youβ€”I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you; I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all; From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light; But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light; From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever. O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you areβ€”you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; (Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?) The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk; I pursue you where none else has pursued you; Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me; The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me, The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside. There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you; There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you; No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you; No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you. As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you; I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you. Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you; These immense meadowsβ€”these interminable riversβ€”you are immense and interminable as they; These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolutionβ€”you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution. The hopples fall from your anklesβ€”you find an unfailing sufficiency; Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself; Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted; Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
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Walt Whitman
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Once I passed through a populous city imprinting my brain for future use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions, Yet now of all that city I remember only a woman I Casually met there who detained me for love of me, Day by day and night by night we were togetherβ€”all else Has long been forgotten by me, I remember I say only that woman who passionately clung To me, Again we wander, we love, we separate again, Again she holds me by the hand, I must not go, I see her close beside me with silent lips sad and tremulous.
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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The last scud of day holds back for me, It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds, It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk. I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun, I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags. I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to your nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place, search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.
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Walt Whitman
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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 your self.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Out of the cradle endlessly rocking, Out of the mocking-bird’s throat, the musical shuttle, Out of the Ninth-month midnight, Over the sterile sands, and the fields beyond, where the child, leaving his bed, wander’d alone, bare-headed, barefoot, Down from the shower’d halo, Up from the mystic play of shadows, twining and twisting as if they were alive, Out from the patches of briers and blackberries, From the memories of the bird that chanted to me, From your memories, sad brotherβ€”from the fitful risings and fallings I heard, From under that yellow half-moon, late-risen, and swollen as if with tears, From those beginning notes of sickness and love, there in the transparent mist, From the thousand responses of my heart, never to cease, From the myriad thence-arous’d words, From the word stronger and more delicious than any, From such, as now they start, the scene revisiting, As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing, Borne hitherβ€”ere all eludes me, hurriedly, A manβ€”yet by these tears a little boy again, Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves, I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter, Taking all hints to use themβ€”but swiftly leaping beyond them, A reminiscence sing.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Passing stranger! You do not know how longingly I look upon you, You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,) I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you, All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured, You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me, I ate with you, and slept with youβ€”your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only, You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we passβ€”you take of my back, breast, hands, in return, I am not to speak to youβ€”I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone, I am to waitβ€”I do not doubt I am to meet you again, I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
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Walt Whitman
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What shall I give? and which are my miracles? 2. Realism is mine--my miracles--Take freely, Take without end--I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you or your eyes reach. 3. Why! who makes much of a miracle? As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, Or sit at the table at dinner with my mother, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown--or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring; Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers, Or among the savans--or to the _soiree_--or to the opera. Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery, Or behold children at their sports, Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman, Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial, Or my own eyes and figure in the glass; These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring--yet each distinct and in its place. 4. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same; Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
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Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
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Something else gets under your skin, keeps you working days and nights at the sacrifice of your sleeping and eating and attention to your family and friends, something beyond the love of puzzle solving. And that other force is the anticipation of understanding something about the world that no one has ever understood before you. Einstein wrote that when he first realized that gravity was equivalent to acceleration -- an idea that would underlie his new theory of gravity -- it was the "happiest thought of my life." On projects of far smaller weight, I have experienced that pleasure of discovering something new. It is an exquisite sensation, a feeling of power, a rush of the blood, a sense of living forever. To be the first vessel to hold this new thing. All of the scientists I've known have at least one more quality in common: they do what they do because they love it, and because they cannot imagine doing anything else. In a sense, this is the real reason a scientist does science. Because the scientist must. Such a compulsion is both blessing and burden. A blessing because the creative life, in any endeavor, is a gift filled with beauty and not given to everyone, a burden because the call is unrelenting and can drown out the rest of life. This mixed blessing and burden must be why the astrophysicist Chandrasekhar continued working until his mid-80's, why a visitor to Einstein's apartment in Bern found the young physicist rocking his infant with one hand while doing mathematical calculations with the other. This mixed blessing and burden must have been the "sweet hell" that Walt Whitman referred to when he realized at a young age that he was destined to be a poet. "Never more," he wrote, "shall I escape.
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Alan Lightman
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A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt, Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose? Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, Growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same. And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves. Tenderly will I use you curling grass, It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men, It may be if I had known them I would have loved them, It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers' laps, And here you are the mothers' laps. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers, Darker than the colorless beards of old men, Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues, And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing. ... What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Out of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me, Whispering I love you, before long I die, I have travel'd a long way merely to look on you to touch you, For I could not die till I once look'd on you, For I fear'd I might afterward lose you. Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe, Return in peace to the ocean my love, I too am part of that ocean my love, we are not so much separated, Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect! But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us, As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse forever; Be not impatient--a little space--know you I salute the air, the ocean and the land, Every day at sundown for your dear sake my love.
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Walt Whitman
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I tramp the perpetual journey My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods, No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, I have no chair, no philosophy, I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange, But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, My left hand hooking you round the waist, My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself. It is not far, it is within reach, Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know, Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land. Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth, Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go. If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip, And in due time you shall repay the same service to me, For after we start we never lie by again. This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded heaven, And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill'd and satisfied then? And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond. You are also asking me questions and I hear you, I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself. Sit a while dear son, Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink, But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence. Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.
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Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
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Song of myself I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise, Regardless of others, ever regardful of others, Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man, Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff that is fine, One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same, A Southerner soon as a Northerner, a planter nonchalant and hospitable down by the Oconee I live, A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth, A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer-skin leggings, a Louisianian or Georgian, A boatman over lakes or bays or along coasts, a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye; At home on Kanadian snow-shoes or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland, At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tacking, At home on the hills of Vermont or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch, Comrade of Californians, comrade of free North-Westerners, (loving their big proportions,) Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen, comrade of all who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat, A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfullest, A novice beginning yet experient of myriads of seasons, Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion, A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker, Prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest. I resist any thing better than my own diversity, Breathe the air but leave plenty after me, And am not stuck up, and am in my place.
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Walt Whitman