Thoughts from Walt Whitman
What behaved well in the past
Or behaves well today, is not such a wonder;
The wonder is, always and always,
How there can be a mean man or an infidel.
* * *
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,
And whoever walks a furlong
Without sympathy, walks to his own funeral,
Drest in his shroud.
And I or you, pocketless of a dime,
May purchase the pick of the earth;
And to glance with an eye,
Or show a bean in its pod,
Confounds the learning of all times.
And there is not trade or employment
But the young man following it
May become a hero;
And there is no object so soft
But it makes a hub for the wheel's universe.
And I say to any man or woman,
Let your soul stand cool and composed
Before a million universes.
And I say to mankind,
Be not curious about God.
For I, who am curious about each,
Am not curious about God.
(No array of terms can say how much
I am at peace about God, and about death.)
I hear and behold God in every object,
Yet understand God not in the least.
Nor do I understand who there can be
More wonderful than myself.
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 dropt in the street
—And every one is sign'd by God's name,
And I leave them where they are,
For I know that wheresoe'er I go,
Others will punctually come forever and ever.
* * *
I believe a leaf or grass
Is no less than the journey-work of the stars;
And the pismire is equally perfect,
And a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad
Is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest;
And the running blackberry
Would adorn the parlors of heaven;
And the narrowest hinge in my hand
Puts to scorn all machinery;
And the cow crunching with depress'd head
Surpasses any statue;
And a mouse is miracle enough
To stagger sextillions of infidels.
* * *
Whoever you are! You are he or she
For whom the earth is solid and liquid.
You are he or she for whom the sun and moon
Hang in the sky,
For none more than you
Are the present and the past,
For none more than you is Immortality.
Return to Index