Since this is National Poetry Month, I have spent the last couple weeks looking at poetry, mostly Walt Whitman’s, and I have analyzed that based on a metaphysical interpretation.
Art that resonates with me elicits connections with life — people, society, politics, charities, and any of thousands of possibilities. Art that attracts me establishes this emotional resonance to my Heart, which then stimulates my mind and soul. Therefore, those artists in written, visual, or performing realms who connect with me usually do so because in some way, they echo or relate to the concepts, ideas, and philosophy I embrace.
Such has been the case as I have enjoyed reading Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” Continuing the examination of that epic poem, let’s expand the words here. By the way, I really enjoy doing this with Walt’s poems because he directly states that he expects his readers would work as intently making meaning and internalizing his poetry, work as intently as he did in writing those works.
In Section 5 of the poem, after he recognizes the duality of human nature within himself — Ego and Heart — he remembers a scene of love that was pure joy. He knows that the essence of life is to appreciate all and enjoy all. In this poem, he judges none, including himself. At times he exposes negative things with not one breath of condemnation — just shows them for what they are (see Sections 34–38).
He can do this because he knows all of creation, the Universe itself, emanates from eternal Spirit; thus, that Spirit runs through all, and he enumerates all of Nature in that: “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars, / And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and…” (Section 31–32). Yes, even in something as apparently insignificant as an anthill or grain of sand.
Some people just get it, and I am so encouraged that at least some of those, perhaps some of you reading this, find connection and resonance in these troubled times, times in which it appears that the mass of people living in desperation of resignation need to make decisions about making a conscious choice of Ego or Heart if they wish to avoid being subjugated to those who have consciously rejected Heart over Ego in order to manipulate, control, and gain wealth and power at the expense of the rest of creation. And I would not judge those, only to point out it’s happening and hope that discovery of Self, Heart, will give some the sort of life they envision, dream of, hope for. In other words, I love the oligarchs, too, but I have no qualms in exposing them in my love of all others and the rest of creation.
In fact, this is where Section 5 of “Song of Myself” leads us. Walt, after the memory of love he recounts, says, “Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, /And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own, / And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, / And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers, / And that a kelson of the creation is love,…” A kelson is the central structure, including the keel, that the rest of the superstructure of the ship is tied to. Love holds all together, and in that spirit, Walt can unflinchingly, unashamedly, and enthusiastically and sincerely own his identity with all.
He does just that for thousands of lines of poetry. His experience is ours, or it could be, and ours has been his, because he chose it to be so. Proof of his philosophy that allowed him to declare his Heart, core Self to the world through poetry for over a hundred and fifty years? He says, “Space and Time! now I see it is true, what I guess’d at…” (Section 33). And his conclusions are found in nearly every conceivable place int the Earth: he is one with all because eternal Spirit created all of time and space and he is, we are, bearers of eternal Spirit.
He declares this in Section 44: “I am an acme of things accomplish’d, and I an encloser of things to be… // Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me, / Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, I know I was even there, / I waited unseen and always… // All forces have been steadily employ’d to complete and delight me, / Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul.” He and we can stand with healthy, vigorous souls when we embrace and accept all we are — Ego and Heart — and that everything else, everyone else derives from and is shot through with eternal Spirit.
And I will end with these few lines from Walt, ones that may inspire and encourage us if we allow that. In Section 46 he says, “I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured. / I tramp a perpetual journey… // 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… // …you must find out for yourself.” I hope you will.
I hope you are seeking or have discovered the reality of who and what you are. I hope you have realized the power you possess. Create. Create your life, a purpose, a bond and fellowship with all. This is the Fellowship of the Heart, and it is ours, eternally. Why, then, should we not come into the blessing of it now in time and space, the dimensions we have come to in order to know the greatness of eternity expressed within mortal boundaries?
Blessings in your discovery!
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!