Tuesday, February 24, 2015

O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman

O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; 
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; 
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who  more faithless?) 
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever    renew’d; 
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; 
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; 
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?  
That you are here—that life exists, and identity; 
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

There are just times in one's poetic life when one needs a blast of Whitman, I reckon.

When you feel sufficiently blasted, check out the Tuesday Poem. Today's poem is brought to you by guest editor, Zireaux, and it's a song by Fiona Apple. It does rather seem appropriate to have a song as the featured poem today and be talking here about Whitman.  

I'm reading Hilary Mantel's short story collection, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. Brilliant! 

Also, The Buddha Walks into the Office by Lodro Rinzler. Thought-provoking. 

I would recommend both books, the latter particularly if you feel you're floundering at work, or if you simply want some kind of work/you reality check, or, like me, if you're always looking for ways to work differently - with greater calm, more empathy and more in tune with the way you live your non-working life.


Helen McKinlay said...

Thanks Catty,There is hope after all! :-)

Michelle Elvy said...

Thank you for the blast of Whitman! And also the book recommendations. Will get my hands on Mantel's collection soon... and the other sounds fascinating too.

Cattyrox said...

There is hope, Helen! Michelle, I thoroughly recommend this short story collection. Mantel is wonderful!

Zireaux said...

A delightful selection, Catty. How different is the contribution of verse in Whitman's day to today. I wonder, can it happen online, this "contribution"? Or does the ecstasy require physicality? Of all the great poets, Whitman strikes me as the most physical, the most tactile, the most anti-cyberspace, the most likely -- were he alive and versifying today -- to join a band for the sole purpose of hurling himself into the mosh-pit. - Zireaux (http://www.immortalmuse.com)

Cattyrox said...

Ha ha I love the idea of Whitman in a mosh-pit. I do think you are right, Zireaux. Whitman might well find the virtual community lacking - although I also imagine he'd be inveterate user of Facebook, updating his status regularly and passionately. (I think I will write a poem about that!)