Winter, Whitman and Awe

It is March in New Jersey. I want to say that everything is STILL blanketed in snow. But the truth is it more feels like everything is smothered in too much snow! And it has been, and is, and it will be brutally cold – it will be for the extent of the forecastable future. I feel like we are being stalked and haunted by winter! And of course, I am certain that all of this has befallen us because the ground hog bit the ear of the mayor! Oh, those ground hogs! Or maybe it is because last year a different mayor dropped the ground hog in Paxatawny, Pa. and that ground hog eventually died of the injuries! It is all the ground hog’s fault this hyper winterness.

And in that context, I just felt like I needed some warmth and some awe in my life. So, while there are more references to God in this poem than I typically include here today this piece from Whitman just seemed to resonate with me. I hope you enjoy it.


From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855)

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,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral, dressed in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheeled universe,
And any man or woman shall stand cool and supercilious before a million universes.
And I call to mankind, Be not curious about God,
For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,
No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and about death.

I hear and behold God in every object, yet I understand God not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.

Why should I which to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass;
I find letters from God dropped in the street, and everyone is signed by God’s name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that others will punctually come forever and ever.