You, Walt, and I (And Most Everybody Else We Know)


Here’s section 51 of Song of Myself, which you’ve heard me and others quote scores of times, and even today as we discussed The Brothers Karamazov.

And you might also enjoy June Jordan’s essay, For the Sake of People’s Poetry.


The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?

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