Alex has a habit of pushing the books of one shelf all the way to the back wall of the shelf so that he has a ledge to play with his motorcycles on. (Yes, I'm ending with a preposition. Screw you, Dryden.)
So today as I was picking up 87 different toy motorcycles, my eye fell on a slim volume of poetry by Walt Whitman. It's been too long since I've read Whitman, and I though I had many things to do, I couldn't resist sitting down to read, and then to write. Of course, that small book doesn't contain enough, so I went back to the shelf for a college text book. There are some experiences that never lose their newness, and some feelings that never diminish. And yet, with time, there comes deeper understanding that makes early thoughts and feelings, though sincere, seem childish and surficial.
That is how Whitman's poetry (and my long attempt at understanding it) strikes me, especially Song of Myself. There is so much of this long work that I love, so much that resonates with me. Just one excerpt from section 2:
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
Powerful stuff. I often feel that sense of filtering -- sifting through what I experience, sorting it out in an attempt to have it make sense -- my sense. But, unlike the idealistic girl who read this poem so many years ago, I realize now that I am still constructing that filter, and my self. (Two words on purpose. I say "my self" just as I would "my hand" or "my soul".
Or from section 1:
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.
(he said "knit" :)) There is so much here -- both the diversity and commonality of humankind being one. I always feel like the opposite equals are advancing toward each other, but there is no indication in the lines.
I could go on but I'll leave it for now. But not before mentioning that I find a sort of spiritual comfort in the lines:
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.
This I would very much like to believe.