Walt Whitman – The Twirl of My Tongue

Walt Whitman – The Twirl of My Tongue

What is the calling of a great writer?

To write. To celebrate. To see how everything is connected and equal.

To be open to the smallest epiphany, and then to show how it is part of the largeness of the universe.

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars,” said Walt Whitman.

Here is the job description of the poet and the writer, according to Walt Whitman in his extravagant, effusive, ecstatic rant on poetry and bold expression in his 1855 preface to Leaves of Grass:

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,
read these leaves in the open air every season
of every year of your life,
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 . . . .

The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work.
He shall know that the ground is always ready ploughed
and manured . . .
He shall go directly to the creation.

The ground is ready for the writer. Go directly to the process of creativity. Again, from Whitman (in Song of Myself):

My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach,
With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds
and volumes of worlds.

With a twirl of the tongue . . . or flourish of the pen . . . or clickety-clack of the keyboard.

Go forth and encompass worlds. Today.

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