150-Year-Old Words to Live By

Nancy Flynn Poetry, Stream of Consciousness Archive, Wisdom

Words to buoy the soul on a sunny February day of snow slowly melting from the winter-green grass and the drip-drip accompaniment from rain gutter eaves:

Walt Whitman in the 1855 preface to Leaves of Grass—

“Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men—go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers or families—re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.”

The public domain photograph above is from the volume, The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, published in 1902.

Nancy Flynn
Follow me
Latest posts by Nancy Flynn (see all)