Song of Myself
Who goes there? hankering, gross, mystical, nude;
How is it I extract strength from the beef I eat?
What is man anyhow? what am I, what are you?
All I mark as my own you shall offset it with your own,
Else it were time lost listening to me.
I do not snivel that snivel the world over,
That months are vacuums and the ground but wallow an
Whimpering and truckling fold with powders for invalids,
conformity goes to the forth-remov’d,
I wear my hat as I please indoors and out.
Why should I pray? why should I venerate and be
Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair,
counsel’d with doctors and calculated close,
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.
In all people I see myself, none more and not one barley-
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.
I know I am solid and sound,
To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,
All are written to me, and I must get what that writing means.
I know I am deathless,
I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter’s
I know I shall not pass like a child’s carlacue cut with a
burnt stick at night.
I know I am august,
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood,
I see that the elementary laws never apologize,
(I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my
house by, after all.)
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand
or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I
My foothold is tenon’d and mortis’d in granite,
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
And I know the amplitude of time.
by Walt Whitman
from Walt Whitman – Complete Poetry and Collected Prose;
The Library of America, distributed by Viking Press