Monday, June 9, 2014

Reduced Whitman

Whitman Lite
from Whitman's facebook page
Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

Whitman Regular
Once I pass’d through a populous city, imprinting my brain, for future use,
with its shows, architecture, customs, and traditions;
Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I casually met there,
who detain’d me for love of me;
Day by day and night by night we were together,
-- All else has long been forgotten by me;
I remember, I say, only that woman who passionately clung to me;
Again we wander — we love — we separate again;
Again she holds me by the hand — I must not go!
I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and tremulous.

~ from "Children of Adam," in Leaves of Grass

Whitman Heavy
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

~ Preface, 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass (see paragraph #7)

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