Skip to main content

Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved

ISSUE:  Spring 2005

Whitman’s list of the things he could see
As he sat, half-paralyzed,
An old man by a woodland pond.

The names of the different trees.
The birds he glimpsed or only heard
Yet recognized by their songs.

The bushes and grasses that grew there.
How happy those lists made him:
Tamarack, birch, maple, larch—

Gazing from where he loafed
On the bank or from the pond itself,
Where he floated naked
In the round pool of it:

As if he were the pupil
In a wide-open eye.

And the trees around it
Delicate and strong as lashes.

Oh, the world, the world,
What eye is wide enough?
What pupil sufficiently diligent?

Let’s put our poems in the Book,
Let’s add what we see to the beautiful list.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading