Highland Books

Books & Photographs by Chris Highland

Whitman

While teaching a course on Walt Whitman and the Genius of the Common People at Dominican University this summer, I was asked to give a “benediction” for an interfaith gathering in Marin County.  I memorized the following stanza from “Song of Myself” (48) and walked around the room reciting it.  People were amused, stunned and attracted to this new form of “blessing.”  Leave it to Walt.

“I have said that the soul is not more than the body,

And I have said that the body is not more than the soul;

And no one, not God, is greater to one than one self is,

And any one who walks a furlong without sympathy, walks to their own funeral drest in their shroud,

And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,

And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times,

And there is no trade or employment but the young person following it may become a hero,

And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel’d universe,

And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.”

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