For You, O Democracy


Sketch of Walt Whitman in his younger days

Sketch of Walt Whitman in his younger days

Come, I will make the continent indisoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America,
and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,
I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks,
By the love of Comrades,
By the manly love of Comrades.

For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!
For you, for you I am trilling these songs.

—–From Leaves of Greas; Deathbed Edition by Walt Whitman

Volumes of Whitman's Leaves of Grass

Volumes of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

The Magic of this Lifetime


Flowers and Photography by Barbara Mattio

” Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn these, seeking you.
When you read these I that was visible am become invisible,
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me,
Fancying how happy you were if I could be with you and become your comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. ( Be not too certain but I am now with you.)

 

—–Walt Whitman
Laws of Creation

Humanity under a magnifying glass, an experience of telescoping time, sensual and direct. These describe Whitman’s writings.  His vision of people was democratic, nonjudgmental and filled with the width and breadth of human existence.
During Whitman’s lifetime, he looked at America as an idea and a nation.
He lived during great revolution, poverty and war.

Whitman was one of the American poets who saw the reality of the past and the allure of the future. He was a man capable of introspection and contemplation which fueled his poetry. His poetry has a flow and a music which starts slowly and builds to a crescendo of joy, ecstasy, and love.

Myrtle Beach, SC, Photo by Barbara Mattio

Whitman had an uncanny way to perceive the truth in life, our nation and the people he met in his many travels. His love and clear seeing and thinking led him to say:  ” I sing the body electric.”

I think we could do much worse in 2012, than to read and/or meditate upon his words and what they could mean in our lives.

To Find the Ecstasy in Your Life


Thoreau, Frost and Whitman were all poets who found happiness in their experience in nature and nature led them to an experience with God. Their writings are very uplifting and filled with wisdom. Some of their poetry is so famous high school students still memorize the words. Some of these have come back to me as I walk in the mountains when visiting my best friend. There is a connection that develops between the experience and the poetry.

 

Black Mountain, NC; Photo by Barbara Mattio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Mountain, NC Photo by Barbara Mattio

Thirty some years ago, a dear friend gave me a book of poetry. The poetry was by Kabir, a fifteenth century Indian poet. He was the son of a weaver and was influenced by Sufis and the ideas of the Hindus. This particular collection of some of his poems is translated by Robert Bly. The originals were written in Hindi. I hope the journey that his words take you on is as amazing of a journey as mine has been. Kabir went into the inner landscape to experience God and the ecstasy of loving The One.

 

“Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into the experience while you are alive!
Think…and think…while you are alive.
What you call “salvation” belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten—
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing new,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now,in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.”
—–Kabir

Lumberton , NC Photo by Barbara Mattio