Under My Boot-soles


Yesterday I went to visit Walt Whitman. Usually I go around his birthday, with lilies from my garden. It depends on when the lilies bloom more than getting the exact date of his birthday (which is May 31) — the naturalized lilies are the important part. Natural-ized. No supermarket flowers flown in from Mexico for him. Yesterday I offered him a pine cone and an evergreen bough. He liked them.

He was ok with the American flag someone placed near his marker, but looooooathes the plastic flowers. He’s trying to wrap head head around the idea of plastic. He can’t. He loves the note someone wrote him, folded into an airplane, and flown into his mausoleum. He appreciates the books, but wishes the person who gave them was reading them instead. He likes my visits, but reminds me he’s everywhere true, soulful, and untamed. Thanks for the reminder, Walt. I needed it.

Song of Myself  — LII

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains
	of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.


  1. joon*ann

    Aw, I love that you leave lillies for Walt Whitman. I’ve read very little of his writings — I look forward to getting to know him better. 🙂

    • jackiemania

      joon*ann — I absolutely love him. The Beat Poets considered themselves the wild children of Whitman, and I like to think of myself as a wild granddaughter 😉 I loved my grandparents so dearly, but I realized I’ve been to Walt Whitman’s grave more than my own grandparents.

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