Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging

The Poetry of Walt Whitman

leaves image

“This is what you shall do;

Love the earth

and sun

and

the animals,

despise riches,

give alms to everyone 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

evert 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.”

whiman

WALT WHITMAN was born in Westhills, Long Island, May 31, 1819, in a farm-house overlooking the sea. While yet a child his parents moved to Brooklyn, where he acquired his education. He learned type-setting at thirteen years of age. Two years later he taught a country school. He contributed to the “Democratic Review” before he was twenty-one years old. At thirty he traveled through the Western States, and spent one year in New Orleans editing a newspaper. Returning home he took up his father’s occupation of carpenter and builder, which he followed for a while. During the War of the Rebellion he spent most of his time in the hospitals and camps, in the relief of the sick and disabled soldiers. For a time he was a department clerk in Washington.

In 1856 he published a volume entitled “Leaves of Grass.” This volume shows unquestionable power, and great originality. His labors among the sick and wounded necessarily made great impressions; these took form in his mind and were published under the title of “Drum Taps.”

His poems lack much of the standard of recognized poetic measure. He has a style peculiar to himself, and his writings are full of meaning, beauty and interest. Of his productions, Underwood says: “Pupils who are accustomed to associate the idea of poetry with regular classic measure in rhyme, or in ten-syllabled blank verse or elastic hexameters, will commence these short and simple prose sentences with surprise, and will wonder how any number of them can form a poem. But let them read aloud with a mind in sympathy with the picture as it is displayed, and they will find by nature’s unmistakable responses, that the author was a poet, and possessed the poet’s incommunicable power to touch the heart.” He died in Camden, N. J., March 20, 1892.

Charles Clanton Rogers    March 5, 2016


Biography from: http://www.2020site.org/poetry/index.html

4 thoughts on ““THIS IS WHAT YOU SHALL DO…”

  1. Buz says:

    Thanks for introduction to Whitman. He lead a very simple, eclectic life. I also enjoyed the music. What were the selections. I haven’t finished yesterday’s read. I still working on the speech. It made me think. Thanks for the enlightenment!!! Here’s wishing you an awesome weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a powerful and rich live Walt Whitman led.
    A life much like your own Doctor Charles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Thank you; I admire Whitman

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A true national treasure.

        Liked by 1 person

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