Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lost Quaker Journals: #8 -- Walt Whitman

From the archives of the Association of Bad Friends. All rights reserved.

Ninth-month 19, 1860 --

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
not Vermonters,
And rejoice that I do not write,
Rhyming poems like JGW -- Moll Pitcher, Barbara Fritchie, Maud Muller, bah...
The saddest words of tongue or pen are not "It might of been" but are
"It not ought to have been" but Whittier penned it anyway.

I loafe and invite my poems,
I lean and loafe and brew my soma, but not for some churchly-hymn.

My poems, every poem of my poems, form'd from this soil, this air,
Not some rhyming dictionary or nights spent playing Scrabble,

Creeds and rules of poetry I hold in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but should be quickly forgotten,
I freeform my lines, no slave to format, I permit myself to speak at every hazard,
Poetry without royalty check (unlike that other Quakerly poet), filled with original energy and my own self!

-Walt Whitman,


Beth C. said...

That's our beloved Walt, all right! ::huge grin::
Definitely an unprogrammed Quaker, don't you think?

Chuck Fager said...

" A child said to me, 'What is the grass?'
I said 'It's what keeps a lot of your contemporaries stoned . . .'"

Oh wait -- that was Walt W. Ginsberg . . .