The poetry in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is specifically forceful. It was written at a time when Walt Whitman’s personal religious perspective was that he himself was a prophet as stated in his first poem “Song of Myself.” This poem appears in Whitman’s first book Leaves of Grass. Whitman says: “Divine am I and out, and I make holy water whatever I touch or am touched from; / The scent of these armpits is aroma finer than prayer; /This head is more than churches or bibles or creeds” (39).The poet’s deistic belief taught him with an appreciation and affection for this perspective of God and nature. Whitman renounced Christianity he believed in himself as superior. To his mind, the body and soul are one: “I have said that the soul is not more than the body, and I have said that the body is not more than the soul. And nothing not God, is greater to one than one’s-self is” (65). Walt Whitman gives priority to the individual self.
The poet’s relationship to the poem Song of Myself emphasizes his thoughts and vision of self and body as equal. Also, he reiterates in his writing, that he is equal to God, the creator. He states: “Nor I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself” (66). In this verse, Walt Whitman than knows the concept of a God. He cannot however, grasp how God can be better than Whitman, for he is God the model of every person. Whitman perceives some visible features of God in humankind. He believes the world is wonderful and has meaning. The writer began envisioning himself as a prophet when he was in the civil war seeing people die. Later, Whitman’s brother got ill and his mother died shortly aft...
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...f right and wrong, heaven and hell, and the good and the bad. Whitman believed himself a prophet and regarded “Song of Myself” as the way to express his feelings. He then dissuaded people especially the priest who thinks he preached the truth. That truth is everywhere, but unspeakable. And as stated toward the end of the poem: “I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles” (68). This line tells us that he is going back to give his body and soul to nature and continue his great journey in life. Whitman will be waiting for us in the end. I think of the poem Song of Myself, as intrinsic to Walt Whitman’s life experiences in the mid-19th century.
Life is difficult then as it is today in the 21st century. Perhaps, for this reason, Walt Whitman speaks to us today as much as he did in the late 1800’s.
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