~the uncut hair of graves~

April 13th, 2008

Book work distracts again, as we will soon trade some days of laptops and pondering for frolicking in Piemonte, Italy. So a poem today, from the man who called grass beautiful uncut hair of graves, Walt Whitman. Plus pictures from a Sunday constitutional up “our mountain,” at the base of the Jura. Everything is beginning to bloom.


And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease . . . . observing a spear of summer grass.


Houses and rooms are full of perfumes . . . . the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume . . . . it has no taste of the distillation . . . . it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever . . . . I am in love with it,


I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

The smoke of my own breath,


Echos, ripples, and buzzed whispers . . . . loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration . . . . the beating of my heart . . . . the passing of blood
and air through my lungs,

The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and darkcolored sea-
rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belched words of my voice . . . . words loosed to the eddies of the wind,


A few light kisses . . . . a few embraces . . . . a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hillsides,
The feeling of health . . . . the full-noon trill . . . . the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

4 Responses to “~the uncut hair of graves~”

  1. J says:

    Dude, i’ve been thinking of Walt Whitman all week! Must be the forsythia finally coming into bloom.

  2. kim says:

    Do you remember that scene in Down by Law, Roberto Benigni is practicing his English and Tom Waits gets drawn in~

    Do you like Walt Whitman?
    Yes, I like Walt Whitman very much.
    Leaves of “Glass.”


    Nothing. I said,
    “Do you like Walt Whitman?”

    Walt Whitman?

    Yes. I like Walt Whitman very much.
    Very good, the Leaves of “Glass.”

    Leaves of “Glass.”

    Walt Whitman.

    Walt Whitman.

  3. Terry says:

    beautiful…he and you certainly capture the quality of the season

  4. Habib says:

    I was just talking about Walt Whitman last week with John at Absinthe over my new favorite drink, the French 75. Apparently he self-published his first book of poetry and had it bound in a very long and narrow volumn that would fit in the pockets of field toilers and farmers rather than on dusty bookshelves. He imagined the farmers would stop their work and read a passage from it while wiping their brows.

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