I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.
Short Poem Analysis
"Song of Myself, I" is the opening section of the epic poem "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman. It serves as a bold and expansive introduction to Whitman's poetic project, encompassing themes of individualism, interconnectedness, and the celebration of the self. The poem is characterized by its free verse structure and Whitman's distinctive use of first-person narration.
In this section, Whitman establishes his intention to explore and celebrate the multifaceted nature of the self. He proclaims, "I celebrate myself, and sing myself," setting the tone for a celebration of individuality and self-expression.
Whitman uses vivid and sensory language to describe various aspects of his own identity and experiences. He emphasizes his connection to nature, declaring that he is "mad for it to be in contact with me," highlighting the spiritual and intimate relationship between the self and the natural world.
The poem's inclusive language, such as "For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you," expresses Whitman's belief in the interconnectedness of all individuals and the idea that the self is not isolated but rather part of a broader collective.
Whitman's emphasis on the physical body, such as his detailed description of his hair, reflects his celebration of the body as a vessel of experience and a source of identity. This reflects his broader theme of the body as a source of connection between individuals and between humanity and nature.
"Song of Myself, I" captures Whitman's bold and revolutionary approach to poetry, as he rejects traditional forms and embraces a free-flowing style that mirrors the diversity and expansiveness of human experience. The poem sets the stage for the rest of "Song of Myself," which explores various aspects of the self, society, and the universe. Through its celebration of individuality and interconnectedness, the poem encapsulates Whitman's vision of the democratic spirit and his belief in the inherent worth of every individual.