Thursday, November 12, 2009

my favorite poems - part II: soul-shaker

The first time I ever read this poem (while sitting alone on my parents' screened-in porch one summer), I promptly burst into tears, then could not stop crying. I have some inkling as to why, but never you mind. For whatever reason, this is my security blanket poem, the one that's been folded, unfolded, and refolded so many times the paper is falling apart. It's my desert island poem - as in, if I were abandonded on a desert island and could only have one poem with me, it would likely be (perhaps quite irrationally) this one.

Walt Whitman

Allons! The road is before us!
It is safe – I have tried it – my own feet have tried it well – be not detain'd!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the

        shelf unopen'd!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the money remain unearn'd!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! Let the lawyer plead in the
        court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?