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Song of Myself by Walt Witman

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Laukinis Gyvūnėlis

on 1 November 2015

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Transcript of Song of Myself by Walt Witman

"These come to me days and nights and go from me again.
But they are not me Myself".
The song of myself
In the poem identity is divided into three layers:

Cycle of growth
1. I- the everyday personality
2. me Myself-inner self, the observer
3.the Soul
the soul is connected in all the souls in the worlds
Cycle of growth
28 year-old woman
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men, and all so friendly,
Twenty-eight years of womanly life, and all so lonesome.
She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.
Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.
Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.
Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty- ninth bather,
The rest did not see her, but she saw them a
nd loved them.
(section 11)

The title
Different identities in the poem
I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuffed with the stuff that is coarse, and stuffed with the stuff that is fine,
One of the great nation, the nation of many nations...
Walt Whitman
“Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos,
Disorderly fleshy and sensual . . . . eating drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist . . . . no stander above men and women or apart from them . . . . no more modest than immodest. (section 24)”
Poem is a cycle itself
The individual and the atmosphere
" Houses and rooms are full with perfumes, the selves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and I like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it."
"The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has not taste of the distillation, it is odorless"(2)
Sections 1-3
Ch. 1 Rudiments of the notion that everything is everything
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. (3)
"I believe in your soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not abase to the other".
Ch. 3 Narrator's belief in eternity
I have heard what the talkers were talking .... the talk of the beginning and the end
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end. (30-31)
Chapter 6
Huge transition.
Introduced main symbol - grass.
Death is anything that one can perceive. It is not even death
"A child said, What is the grass?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child .•.• the produced babe of the vegetation."
(90, 97)
Section 33
“I am the hounded slave...”
"I am the mash'd fireman with breast-bone broken..."
"The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born ?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it."
(117, 121-123)
"I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my Soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease . . . . observing a spear of summer grass." (section 1)
Chapters 7-19
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadowed wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air . . . . I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you (section 52)
Going back to nature
Everything what poet sees - is a part of him.
“And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.”
old version- was changed to Manhattan
Chapters 43, 45
We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers;
There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them .
Births have brought us richness and variety,
And other births will bring us richness and variety.
Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me,
My embryo has never been torpid
There is no stoppage, and never can be stoppage
Chapters 49-52
Approaching death
Author is fearless of death
Allegory - death, birth and doors
Clues of reincarnation
And as to you corpse I think you are good manure, but that does not offend me,
I smell the white roses sweetscented and growing,
I reach to the leafy lips .... I reach to the polished breasts of melons.
And as to you life, I reckon you are the leavings of many deaths,
No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.
And as to you death, and you bitter hug of mortality .... it is idle to try to alarm me.
To his work without flinching the accoucheur comes,
I see the elderhand pressing receiving supporting,
I recline by the sills of the exquisite flexil.lle doors .... and mark the outlet, and mark the relief and escape.
There is that in me .... I do not know what it is .... but I know it is in me.
Wrenched and sweaty . . . • calm and cool then my body becomes ;
I sleep . . . • I sleep long.
I do not know it .... it is without name .... it is a word unsaid,
It is not in any dictionary or utterance or symbol.
Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on,
To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes me. (1298-1305)
References to death
Leaves of grass grow
His flesh will merge with lacy jags
YOU step on the grass
He will be in YOU
Full cycle of life!
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood. (1331)
Poet-reader relationship
sections 1-7 : attracting the reader
sections 17-25: changing attitude
sections 44-52: conclusion
"These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing”
"Evil propels me, and reform of evil propels me .... I stand indifferent, / My gait is i no faultfinder's or rejector's gait”
“and what i assume you shall assume”, “ stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems”
"The past and present wilt .... I have
filled them and emptied them, / And proceed to fill my next fold of the

Mantas & Shelly
Full transcript