Tuesday, 29 September 2009

From Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

I fell in love with Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman last year when I read it for my British and American Lit Class. Leaves of Grass is one of the works that often end up on Banned or Challenged lists. I find verse 17 particularly pertinent to the subject of banning of books:

These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.

This is the grass that rows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe.

Verse 24 is also good as it speaks of the poet as the voice of the voiceless. When we ban books we quite voices. Voices that should be heard.


Table Talk said...

I have always intended to read more Whitman. He isn't a widely read poet in the UK but when I was a teenager I sang in a performance of Vaughan Williams' "A Sea Symphony' in which he set large sections of Whitman's verse. Is Leaves of Grass the best place to start?

Zee said...

I am by no means a Whitman scholar but I certainly enjoyed Leaves of Grass. It is a collection of poems that he worked on most of his adult life. It was published in several different versions so to me it shows the poet as a whole. I don't think it is a bad place to start.

Nymeth said...

Beautiful post - and a fantastic poem.

Suzanne said...

Leaves of Grass was my all time favorite book all thru college! I haven't read it in years, thanks for reminding me how wonderful it is!