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POEM OF THE DAY -- "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman

Here's an American classic for you.

This poem was first published in Walt Whitman's classic volume "Leaves of Grass" in 1855.  "Song of Myself" began it's journey  as "Walt Whitman. An American" and "Walt Whitman", and after multiple edits through many editions of "Leaves of Grass", culminated it's journey as "Song of Myself", divided into multiple epic sections, in 1888.

In this series of Poem of the Day, we'll attempt to focus on some of the differences in the various versions as they are discovered  through various sources.  The first edition (1855) will always precede the final or subsequently published editions.

Remember that the Great Civil War occurred in the middle of this.

No matter which sections we compare, though, "Song of Myself" remains a valid spiritual commentary on the feelings of the day, and if you rely on history books and documentaries, the spirit of the day is lost forever.  

Amazingly, the spirit of the day lives on -- unfettered by time -- in the poems of Walt Whitman.

The classic "Leaves of Grass" is available below for purchase.  Enjoy this series:

Song of Myself

by Walt Whitman

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

And what I assume you shall assume;
For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my Soul;
I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes—the shelves are crowded with
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it;
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it
is odorless;
It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it;
I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked;
I am mad for it to be in contact with me. 

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