In honor of his birthday today, (May 31, 1819), here is the opening to Walt Whitman's signature poem, "Song of Myself," from the deathbed edition of his magnum opus, Leaves of Grass.
I Celebrate Myself (:37)
by Walt Whitman
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode
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, this air,
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.