Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Song of Myself: Stalks and Stems

Today is my birthday. To celebrate I wrote a poem to myself this very early morning, a flagrant self-indulgence, a much shorter personalization of a very famous one*.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself.
As I am, I deserve to be. I am no victim of life because I am life.

I embrace my unironable wrinkles, etched by cycles of sun and clouds.
I embrace wild strands of gray hair, coarse and no longer repressed by the comb's convention.
I embrace the sagging chin, worn loose from keeping up.

I've heard the talk of beauty and blooms, of fecundity and fear.
But I do not listen.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

There never was so much beauty as now among stalks and stems.
Blooms bud, brighten and wither. Fruits swell, sweeten, and fall.
All grass and stars.
All grass and stars.

Where are you off to, lady?

I dare not loafe.
Let me fill my baskets with the destiny of a woman's labor,
part of the ceaseless folding and unfolding.

I do not call aloud to invite my soul.
Nor do I despise the priests, nor those that consult them.
Let me wash without worry,
My soul follows like the shadows on the line.

I, now fifty-one years old, simply am.
Hoping to cease not till death.

* Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Song of Myself


Bobbie said...

Wonderful. I don't recall reading this one, although I may have read it at the wrong time of life to remember. Your words make it a whole new experience.

I do hope you have the Happiest of Birthdays and enjoy just being yourself.

Andi said...

Simply beautiful (you and the poem).

May you have a joyous birthday.

Anonymous said...

You are gorgeous, and so is this poem. I love the original, and love also that you have adopted it as your birthday anthem. It is lovely to know someone who has decided to become truly herself. That is all you ever need to be, and that is a great thing to be!

I look forward to many years of seeing who you decide to become.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Whitman would be pleased that his poetry inspired poetry within you. Poetry inspires and expresses a way of being, and reaching to be, your authentic self. Thank you for your courage in sharing intimate thoughts with us. I always look forward to your posts.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays.

Wholegrain said...

What an eloquent poem that fits you to a tee.

jomamma said...

Beautiful, hope you had a very wonderful day.