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New Years Walt Whitman Special: Great are the Myths pt.11


Great is language….it is the mightiest of sciences,

It is the fulness and color and form and diversity of the

earth….and of men and women….and of all

qualities and processes;

It is greater than wealth….it is greater than buildings or

ships or religions or paintings or music.


Let Walt Whitman bring in 2020.

Happy New Year!

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.158

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amreading Poems

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.10


The truth in man is no dictum….it is vital as eyesight,

If there be any soul there is truth….if there be man or

woman there is truth….If there be physical or

moral there is truth,

If there be equilibrium or volition there is truth…..if

there be things at all upon the earth there is truth.

O truth of the earth! O truth of things! I am determined

to press the whole way toward you,

Sound your voice! I scale mountains or dive in the sea

after you.

Walt Whitman often speaks of balance in his poems by calling out life’s opposite forces.

If there be man or woman there is truth

If there be physical or moral

I scale mountains or dive in the sea

Each example is an opposite. Each noun or verb needs the other to exist.


From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.158

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amreading Poems

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.9


Great is the greatest nation..the nation of clusters of

equal nations.

Great is the earth, and the way it became what it is,

Do you imagine it is stopped at this?….and the increase

abandoned?

Understand then that it goes as far onward from this as

this is from the times when it lay in covering waters

and gases.

Great is the quality of truth in man,

The quality of truth in man supports itself through all

changes,

It is inevitably in the man….He and it are in love, and

never leave each other.


A bit about Whitman the man:

Whitman was a Brooklyn native. He was born in West Hills, Huntington Township, New York, but his father moved the family to Brooklyn in search of building work.

His background is a familiar one to writers of all generations.

He held down various day jobs – office boy, teacher, printer, freelance journalist.

He worked for a variety of papers in New York City – the Aurora and Evening Tattler (How could you not read a paper named the Evening Tattler?) among them. He even ran a housebuilding business.

Throughout this time though he was writing, publishing poems, literary prose and sketches.

Relentless.

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.157,158

and Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose (Library of America) pgs. 1347,1348

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amreading Poems

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.8


Wealth with the flush hand and fine clothes and

hospitality:

But then the soul’s wealth-which is candor and

knowledge and pride and enfolding love:

Who goes for men and women showing poverty richer

than wealth?

Expression of speech..in what is written or said forget

not that silence is also expressive,

That anguish as hot as the hottest and contempt as cold as

the coldest may be without words,

That the true adoration is likewise without words and

without kneeling.


Walt Whitman for Monday…

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.157

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amreading Poems

Thanksgiving Day Bonus – Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.7


Day fullblown and splendid….day of the immense sun,

and action and ambition and laughter,

The night follows close, with millions of suns, and sleep

and restoring darkness.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And thanks for reading!

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.157

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amreading Poems

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.6


Great is youth, and equally great is old age….great are

the day and night;

Great is wealth and great is poverty….great is

expression and great is silence.

Youth large lusty and loving….youth full of grace and

force and fascination,

Do you know that old age may come after you with equal

grace and force and fascination?


Old age is coming with grace and fascination?

I’m not so sure.

Force?

Yes.

You’re right Walt. Old age is the unstoppable force.

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.157

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amreading Poems

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.5

Great are yourself and myself,

We are just as good and bad as the oldest and youngest

or any,

What the best and worst did we could do,

What they felt..do we not feel it in ourselves?

What they wished..do we not wish the same?

Was Walt Whitman a stoic?

Parts of this poem make it seem so. I need to research his biography to learn more.

Follow up soon…

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.156,157

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Walt Whitman’s Great Are the Myths pt.3

Great is today, and beautiful,
It is good to live in this age….there never was any better.


From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.156

No better way to celebrate the last day of October than with Walt Whitman.

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Commonplace Book Poems writer's inspiration

Walt Whitman’s Great Are the Myths pt.2

Great is liberty! Great is equality! I am their follower,
Helmsmen of nations, choose your craft....where you
sail I sail,
Yours is the muscle of life or death....your is the perfect
science....in you I have absolute faith.

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.156

I didn’t imagine Walt Whitman being an optimistic poet. The first few lines of Great Are the Myths is all Walt admiring people and ideas with intensity.

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Commonplace Book Poems

Walt Whitman’s Great Are The Myths pt.1

I’m trying to get into Walt Whitman’s work. But I underestimated the length of his poems.

So, I’m starting with his shorter poems. And typing them out into smaller, manageable pieces.

Seeing what I can find.

Great are the myths….I too delight in them,

Great are Adam and Eve….I too look back and accept them;

Great the risen and fallen nations, and their poets, women, sages, inventors, rulers, warriors and priests.

Great Are the Myths, Leaves of Grass. Whitman, Walt