Sunday, December 20, 2020

creating an identity or a child went forth

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon and received
 with wonder or pity or love or dread, that object he became.
And that object became part of him 
for the day or a certain part of the day....
or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning glories, 
and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird.
And the March-born lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter,
 and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf, 
and the noisy brood of the barnyard 
or by the mire of the pond side.. 
and the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there.. 
and the beautiful curious liquid.. 
and the water-plants with their grateful flat heads..
 all became part of him.

And the field-sprouts of April and May became part of him....
winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, 
and of the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple trees covered with blossoms, 
and the fruit afterward.... and wood berries..
 and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the outhouse
 of the tavern whence he had lately risen,
And the schoolmistress that passed on her way to the school.. 
and the friendly boys that passed.. and the quarrelsome boys.. 
and the tidy and fresh-cheeked girls.. and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country wherever he went.

His own parents..he that had propelled the fatherstuff at night, 
and fathered him.. and she that conceived him in her womb and birthed him....
 they gave this child more of themselves than that,
They gave him afterward every day....
 they and of them became part of him.

~ Walt Whitman
excerpt from There was a Child Went Forth
art by Klimt


Rebel Girl said...

Walt Whitman - my favorite parenting guide!