walt whitman and the legal composting of the dead (20210411)

out of the ground
i steal a bucket of soil
from a previously dug grave
now a healed over wound
in the loamy earth

my theft is to make
a small amount of clay
not even a handful
an artistic experiment

(this is science)
extraction
solution
excitation
suspension
filtration
refinement

(this is magic)
ritual
burial
inspiration
reformation
resurrection

my breath is the breath
of my ancestors
and yours
my hands dig and mix and form
this clay
this body of our ancestors
what whitman has assumed
i have assumed

Poem 20160121

i am full
i contain multitudes
does it matter if what i say
contradicts
what i said before

i didn’t say that
very well
do i contradict myself
it’s one of the multitudes
at fault

a singular wit
mouthing off
i’m sure

one word out of line
and the train jumps the track
o captain!
these contradictions
are hard to take
harder still
to reconcile
with the crowd in my mouth

and you thought
keeping my wisdom teeth
would put my incisors
out of alignment

what about all those souls

—–

By a weird coincidence, my Zen a Day calendar had this quote by Walt Whitman today, which is what I thought of when I saw Jane’s Challenge:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

–Walt Whitman

Jane Dougherty Writes
Poetry challenge #14: Take a favourite line

Poet 20150912

Today I am reading Song of Myself #51, by Walt Whitman. I grabbed the text from here.

51
The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?