Saturday, March 05, 2005

ecce whitman!

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death;
And if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward—nothing collapses;
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
sometimes it is the most nonsensical thoughts that yield the greatest understanding. and so it is with faith in God. life is a whirling jumble of seeming contradictions. death, which many fear, is not really the end but a continuation. God, whom many deny, cannot be denied. life, that thing to which so many cling tightly, cannot be grasped. cannot be held. cannot be saved for any extra hour or minute or breath.

to read whitman, sometimes it makes you realize that he was talking crazy. and let's face it: his words were kinda crazy. yet in the midst of his mind's maelstrom, some real things poured out - things that connect to someone like me. things that make sense while making no sense at all.

death brings life. pain brings joy. weakness brings strength.

i'm not interested in getting bogged down in the contradictions anymore. i've come to some terms: not much is clear in the day to day. why am i at this place or that? why does this person like me, while that one doesn't? why am i asking all these damned questions?

so let me be one of those who can lay it down and walk ahead, God. let me feel the wind against my skin and know that it is your breath infusing life into this broken vessel. let me lie in the comfort of unanswered questions and sing loud and love hard until it's time to come home again. that's my prayer. that's all a soul could want.

The last scud of day holds back for me;
It flings my likeness after the rest, and true as any, on the shadow’d 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 bequeathe 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.

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

* from "Leaves of Grass," Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

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