Your very flesh shall be a great poem...
To have great poets, there must be great audiences.
Their manners, speech, dress, friendships, -- the freshness and candor of their physiognomy -- the picturesque looseness of their carriage -- their deathless attachment to freedom -- their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean -- the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states -- the fierceness of their roused resentment -- their curiosity and welcome of novelty -- their self-esteem and wonderful sympathy -- their susceptibility to a slight -- the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors -- the fluency of their speech -- their delight in music, a sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul -- their good temper and open-handedness -- the terrible significance of their elections, the President's taking off his hat to them, not they to him -- these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worthy of it.
The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.
I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.
The great poems, Shakespeare's included, are poisonous to the idea of the pride and dignity of the common man, the life-blood of democracy
Perhaps the efforts of the true poets, founders, religions, literatures, all ages, have been, and ever will be, our time and times to come, essentially the same to bring people back from their present strayings and sickly abstractions, to the costless, average, divine, original concrete.
Did you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name I say democracy is only of use there that it may pass on and come to its flower and fruit in manners, in the highest forms of interaction between people, and their beliefs -- in religion, literature, colleges and schools -- democracy in all public and private life....
The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Love the earth and sun and animals, Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, Stand up for the stupid and crazy, Devote your income and labor to others ... And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Our leading men are not of much account and never have been, but the average of the people is immense, beyond all history. Sometimes I think in all departments, literature and art included, that will be the way our superiority will exhibit itself. We will not have great individuals or great leaders, but a great average bulk, unprecedentedly great.
More Walt Whitman Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - Literature - Soul - God - Poetry - People - World - Nature - Death & Dying - Miracles - Faces - Books - Youth - Time - Joy & Excitement - Life - Night - Democracy - Animals - View All Walt Whitman Quotations
More Walt Whitman Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Leaves of Grass
Virgil - Ralph Waldo Emerson - Rabindranath Tagore - Dante Alighieri - Thomas Middleton - Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Octavio Paz - Henrik Ibsen - Edmund Spenser - Anne Sexton