Anita Diamant's Bookshelf
By Walt Whitman
This long poem is a list of everything Whitman loved and everything he challenges us to love: himself, ourselves, humanity, America, music, animals, rivers, city life, work, sex, God, freedom, even the grass beneath his feet, which he describes variously as "…the flag of my disposition…the handkerchief of the Lord…the beautiful uncut hair of graves." There's something almost adolescent about Whitman's paean to the things that were and remain good about America, and I mean that as a compliment to the buzz and punch of his passion. I own a pocket edition and dip into it occasionally, like a box of chocolates, for quick energy and a reminder of how grand it is to read words that cause the soul to give thanks.