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Your very flesh shall be a great poem

Preface to Leaves of Grass (excerpt)

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….

-Walt Whitman

Thanks to everyone who left such thoughtful comments and sent very sweet emails letting me know I am being held in prayer on this day ahead of remembering.  This small journey is of course part of a much longer one I am immersed in. I received the poem above in my Panhala email the other day and the image of my very flesh being a great poem feels like an invitation into what tomorrow holds.  I am going to take the next couple days off from blogging and I will see you back here Monday with our next Poetry Party!

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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6 Responses

  1. I had just posted my word for 2013 when I saw the quote, “And your very flesh shall be a great poem”. It literally hit me right in the chest and I wept . As a poet who struggles with her frail flesh despite the conviction expressed in my “word for 2013” posting, I find the image of my flesh as a poem incredibly inspiring and moving. Have you written more on this theme Christine?
    Many Blessings for Christmas and the coming year and thank you for your wonderful ministry. Each newsletter has such gems of insight, wisdom and encouragement. I hope to gradually deepen my involvement with Abbey of the Arts.
    Yvonne x

  2. Dawn, claire, Songbird, and yolanda, thanks to each of you for extending your care and solace to me. I wholeheartedly agree that there is healing in the grieving which is why I choose to walk into it rather than run away. I am so grateful for companions along the way.

  3. Please know that you are in my prayers and thoughts as I know exactly how you feel.Please know you are never alone and others walk with you on your journey.

  4. I’m a day behind, but thinking of you on this anniversary. I’ll be spending part of the day with a friend grieving her mother, too. Blessings to you, Christine.

  5. you’re in my prayers today, christine…
    may you find the strength to feel the deep grief in your bones – it’s hard, very hard, i know – but i believe there’s healing in it…
    we’re holding you close – you’re never alone in blogland…

  6. I love Walt Whitman. My own copy of Leaves of Grass is quite tattered and marked. It is such inspiring reading. I hope your soul finds solice in the days ahead.