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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
One of my favorite chapters from Whitman's "Song of Myself." Some wonderful lines:
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
I and this mystery here we stand.
Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.
A comment about this last quote above:
Certainly Whitman incorporates a great deal of frank sensuality into his poetry, welcoming earthly reality into his concept of the Divine, yet there is a deeper way to interpret some of these references as well. There are strong hints in Whitman's poetry that he often wrote from the mystic's point-of-view; so let's look at another way we can read that line.
Whitman speaks of being silent, bathing, and admiring himself. These can be understood in the context of the experience of mystical union: When you are at peace with the world, when you are utterly silent, so not even a tremor of thought disrupts the awareness, there is often a sense of being immersed in a vast pool of living water. As you bathe in this "water," your sense of yourself vanishes, replaced by a new, incomprehensibly expanded sense of being. Everything is seen to be a part of yourself. Everything you perceive or imagine is inexplicably you. Bathing in this blissful water, how can we fail to admire such immensity and unity?
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2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
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