Skip to main content

For the Brigid in the Blogosphere Poetry Slam: Walt Whitman

In honor of Brigid, Lady of purification, creativity, and healing, I offer this favorite poem by one of the best, Walt Whitman. This comes from the preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass:
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown
or to any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons
and with the young and the mothers of families,
read these leaves in the open air
every season of every year of your life,
re-examine all you have been told
at school or church or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your own soul
and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Hard words to improve on, in any century.

Blessed be.

(You can find more poetry in honor of Imbolc at MetaPagan or at Branches Up, Roots Down. It's not to late to participate! Directions at both sites.)

Comments

ambermoggie said…
love this Cat thank you:)
Mine is also up
jumbleberryjam said…
Beautiful. Thanks and bright blessings to you!
Heather said…
Excellent advice.

I've posted a poem on my blog as well.
Daniel Wilcox said…
Ah, another Walt Whitman fan:-)

Cat,

Thanks for posting the "Love the earth" poem from the preface. I don't remember ever reading this one, not in all the years I taught Walt. I guess I have always used a later edition or my ol' memory is fading;-) The 1891 edition I have here on my desk doesn't have the poem.

A nice serendipity that you posted a Whitman poem, as I am getting ready to start reading a biography
of Walt I have (as soon as I finish Edna St. Vincent Millay).

Have you read Walt's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"? I love that poem best of his many great poems because of its transcence of time and love of coast to ocean descriptions.

In the Light,

Daniel

Popular posts from this blog

Confronting Racism, Yankee Pagan Style

I am a Yankee.  Right down to my Pagan soul.

My understanding of what it means to be a Pagan is to try to live in right relationship with the gods, the land, and the people, including the ancestors.  My gods are those that are comfortable in New England’s woods and hills.  My land is this rocky landscape of New England.  And my people and my ancestors–on Mom’s side, at least–are New Englanders: sea captains and dairy farmers, teachers and laborers.  Whatever granite is in this place or in my ancestors lives on in me and in my Pagan practice.


And that granite is why I am so driven to speak out against racism.
To help me explain what I mean, I’m going to go ahead and borrow an ancestor: my friend Kirk White‘s father.
A Yankee like a Rock Kirk’s ancestors, like mine, were among the first Englishmen to arrive in North America.  Like mine, this landscape was where they found their home.  And like me, my friend Kirk and his family before him has loved New England–Vermont in his c…

Bears Eat My Lettuce

I love where I live;  since moving to our new home four years ago, I've been able to build a relationship with a piece of land for the first time since I was a child.  It's everything a dirt-worshipping Pagan could ask for.  I have a garden, and I grow much of my own food, and that is as much a spiritual delight as a taste treat.  And I have woods again as neighbors: glacial boulders, white pines and black birches, owls and white-tailed deer.

And bears.

And the bears eat my lettuce.



I'm not kidding about that.  Oh, it's winter now, and the bears are huddled up in their dens.  But this past spring, I grew lettuce.  Award winning, gorgeous lettuce: three different kinds!  They were nourished to extraordinary size and succulence by the cool, wet weather we had, and each night, I would gather just a few outer leaves, knowing that careful tending would mean tasty salads for months.

And then, over the course of three days, the bears ate every single one of my lettuce plants…

The Saturday Farm

I love Saturdays.

I have come to think of the work that I do on Saturdays as "farming."  Now, I know it isn't farming--not really.  We have a medium-sized vegetable garden and two dogs, and that's not a farm, by any stretch of the imagination. 

But I keep thinking of a comment Joel Salatin made in Yes Magazine once, about how Americans have become used to thinking of our homes as centers of consumption, but how once, thinking of your home as a center of production (typically, a farm, for most of us for most of our history) was the norm.

And between trying to live with less plastic junk and trying to eat more sustainably and locally, Saturdays at home have become very productive days.  And that productivity--the willingness to substitute patience, skill, and thrift for consumption--I've come to think of as a species of farming.  (My apologies to actual farmers, whose work I increasingly appreciate.  But thinking in this way works for me, somehow.)

First thing this…