About Me

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As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at Münchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.

20150128

Song of Myself

by Walt Whitman

3


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.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is
     not my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while
     they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.
Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man
     hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
     less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied — I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side
     through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day
     with stealthy tread,
Leaving me baskets cover'd with white towels swelling the
     house with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream
     at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and
     which is ahead?

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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