Tuesday, September 24, 2013


..... A friend linked me to a site that listed 30 books you should read before you're 30. Well I've missed a few, however, I did read, Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, which was on the list. One of my favourite poems in the collection is Song of the Open Road. Here is the last stanza:

Allons! the road is before us!

It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it
well—be not detain'd!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the
book on the shelf unopen'd!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money
remain unearn'd!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer
plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
 Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

The poem has a wonderful sense of adventure about it. There is this idea of being out in nature, free from the institutions that structure society and just being one with the Earth.

Splendorous Shawl

The other lines I love that use the word "grass" are from William Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality
“Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

I actually quoted these lines the other day. I was at a trade show and I was wearing a shawl that I had designed based on the poem. A person at the booth opposite me came over to admire the shawl - I'm a sucker for praise. I explained the inspiration behind the design and quoted the excerpt from the poem. She answered, Walt Whitman. She was forgiven. Well both poets have the same initials. Maybe all you need for great poetry is words and wit (whit) :)

I love it when poetry is integrated into the everyday to-ings and fro-ings of life. Some parks in Toronto have signs reading "Walk on the Grass." Now we just have to add "And read a poem or two!!"

Have a wonderful day!!


  1. I have kept a commonplace book since I was 15 (I will be 50 next week). One of my favourite quotes is by T E Hulme.

    Old buildings were scaffolding once, and workmen whistling.

    It is a standalone couplet I love the concept. My two youngest daughters were choristers at Durham Cathedral and I worked at the Cathedral School for many years. I have spent hours and hours in Cathedral services and have kept that quote in my mind as I have marvelled at the magnificence of the building. Edward Rutherford's Sarum is a wonderful story about the life of what we now think of as an ancient building.

  2. This brings back memories of my childhood. I grew up in a public housing project, and we were forbidden by the authorities to go onto the grassy lawns. Being able to walk on my own grass now, years later, is such a joy for me.