Song Of Myself, By Walt Whitman

Good Essays

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home” (Muir 1). Spending time in the wild, without another human soul in sight, is where one can lose and then find himself. Sitting on a rock in the middle of a desert, mountain, rain forest, or lake, and simply meditating, this is where one can see more than the obvious. Beyond that, this is where one can get in touch with his animal side, and in doing so, sometimes one will no longer be satisfied with the trappings of civilization; pollution of the mind, soul, and earth, media, social norms, philosophers with agendas, and an incredible amount of rules. Walt Whitman must have spent many hours sitting on rocks. An imagist, …show more content…

Animals "do not sweat and whine about their condition, / They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins"(4). They simply exist, content with their lives. Unfortunately, the awareness of the inevitability of one’s own death makes contentment somewhat more difficult. Thus we have men who “make me sick discussing their duty to God” (6). Belief in an otherworldly power and afterlife is easier than dealing with fear of death. But in the world of animals, “not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things”, a contrast that has only gotten worse today. Whitman sees qualities of himself in animals, as they “bring [him] tokens of [him]self” (13). Not necessarily physical items but rather tokens as representations of things he sees in himself. Or, rather, qualities that Whitman “negligently dropped”. Much as he wishes to live with animals, Whitman is still undoubtedly an archetype of the Modern Man, as he ends the poem riding “a gigantic beauty of a stallion”(23), using the horse as any other man would even though he does not “need [the stallions’] paces [as he himself] out-gallop[s] them” (29). As much as he enjoys the company of animals, Whitman is a member of the human race, and as such it is in his nature to take advantage of the …show more content…

Though the war and “all its deeds of carnage, must in time be / utterly lost” (2), in this present moment, “a man as divine as [oneself] is dead” (6), “white faced and still”(7), washed of his sins by “the hands of the sisters Death and Night” (4) along with the rest of “this soil’d world”. Whitman presents one with this image of hopelessness, the world is in such bad shape that only death can cure it. So much of the story is left ambiguous; nowhere does Whitman tell us what war he is referring to, why he considers this man his enemy, or the cause of his enemy’s death. This lack of detail is so profound that one could barely consider Reconciliation a story, but rather a moment frozen for all time in poetry. Such is Whitman’s talent in writing. Though he conforms to no ideas of what poetry should be, a revolutionary idea for his time, and presents the reader with no rhyme scheme, no particular meter, and in some ways a complete lack of order in his poetry, he manages to convey an image of a dead man being “touched lightly with [the] lips” (9) of his enemy in a way that seems almost sacred in only ten lines. The reader will never know how he died or what he died for, but it matters little. The only thing that matters is that one moment of beauty amongst a world of chaos and

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