Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Page Turners: Leaves of Grass

I am still reading The Emerald Atlas. It's great but as much as I like the setting, characters, tone, storyline etc, I don't feel any pull to sit down and read it. I have no idea why and it's very annoying.

I also read Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman this week. I read the Kindle version, despite not having a Kindle, because it's free. But I would have bought it in book form if there hadn't been a free version available to me.

Leaves of Grass is dense, some of the poems are really long and that can be a bit off putting at times but others are only a few lines. It is a celebration of the human body, of being alive and all the tiny seemingly insignificant details of daily life that we often miss. Walt Whitman also enjoys sex and loves to talk about it in his poetry without any pretence, he doesn't shy away from the reality of the human body, complete with arm pits, pubic hair and genitals. 

Some snippets I liked from Leaves of Grass:

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so
placid and self-contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
No one is dissatisfied, no one is demented with the
mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands
of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

Here, out of my pocket, some moss which I pull'd off a live-oak in
Florida as it hung trailing down,

To me these and the like of these are curiously answer'd by my
lovers, my dear friends,
When he whom I love travels with me or sits long while
holding me
by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason
hold not, surround us and prevade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am silent, I
require nothing further,

Behold this swarthy face, these gray eyes,
This beard, the white wool unclipt upon my neck,
My brown hands and the silent manner of me without charm;

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