Each part and tag of poet Walter Whitman (1819-1892) was a miracle. Born in West Hill, New York, he had worked as a printer, teacher, and journalist before bursting with joyful verse in the self-published Leaves of Grass (1855), a book of 12 poems.
"To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle," he said.
In Song of Myself, a cosmic surge of emotion, he chanted, "I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."
Answering the call of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career," Whitman gave innovative voice to a democratic America, bringing spirited free verse to the common people, celebrating life, nature, and divinity with words of passion. Leaves of Grass became his lifework, with many editions updated as his life evolved.
"Re-examine all you have been told . . . Dismiss what insults your Soul," he urged, celebrating the individual... asserting the individual spirit, the individual voice, in all it's great glory: "sound our great barbaric yawp."
Celebrate it all, Whitman believed, even the experiences that could be called negative: "Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you?" he asked. "Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?"
More Walt WHITMAN Quotations
Celebrate the miracle of YOU.