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Spontaneous Me Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 1076

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The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am happy with,

The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder,

The hill-side whiten'd with blossoms of the mountain ash,

The same, late in autumn--the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple, and

light and dark green,

The rich coverlid of the grass--animals and birds--the private

untrimm'd bank--the primitive apples--the pebble-stones,

Beautiful dripping fragments--the negligent list of one after

another, as I happen to call them to me, or think of them,

The real poems, (what we call poems being merely pictures,)

The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men like me,

This poem, drooping shy and unseen, that I always carry, and that all

men carry,10

(Know, once for all, avow'd on purpose, wherever are men like me, are

our lusty, lurking, masculine poems;)

Love-thoughts, love-juice, love-odor, love-yielding, love-climbers,

and the climbing sap,

Arms and hands of love--lips of love--phallic thumb of love--breasts

of love--bellies press'd and glued together with love,

Earth of chaste love--life that is only life after love,

The body of my love--the body of the woman I love--the body of the

man--the body of the earth,

Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west,

The hairy wild-bee that murmurs and hankers up and down--that gripes

the full-grown lady-flower, curves upon her with amorous firm

legs, takes his will of her, and holds himself tremulous and

tight till he is satisfied,

The wet of woods through the early hours,

Two sleepers at night lying close together as they sleep, one with an

arm slanting down across and below the waist of the other,

The smell of apples, aromas from crush'd sage-plant, mint, birch-


The boy's longings, the glow and pressure as he confides to me what

he was dreaming,

The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl, and falling still and

content to the ground,

The no-form'd stings that sights, people, objects, sting me with,

The hubb'd sting of myself, stinging me as much as it ever can any


The sensitive, orbic, underlapp'd brothers, that only privileged

feelers may be intimate where they are,

The curious roamer, the hand, roaming all over the body--the bashful

withdrawing of flesh where the fingers soothingly pause and

edge themselves,

The limpid liquid within the young man,

The vexed corrosion, so pensive and so painful,

The torment--the irritable tide that will not be at rest,

The like of the same I feel--the like of the same in others,30

The young man that flushes and flushes, and the young woman that

flushes and flushes,

The young man that wakes, deep at night, the hot hand seeking to

repress what would master him;

The mystic amorous night--the strange half-welcome pangs, visions,


The pulse pounding through palms and trembling encircling fingers--

the young man all color'd, red, ashamed, angry;

The souse upon me of my lover the sea, as I lie willing and naked,

The merriment of the twin-babes that crawl over the grass in the sun,

the mother never turning her vigilant eyes from them,

The walnut-trunk, the walnut-husks, and the ripening or ripen'd long-

round walnuts;

The continence of vegetables, birds, animals,

The consequent meanness of me should I skulk or find myself indecent,

while birds and animals never once skulk or find themselves


The great chastity of paternity, to match the great chastity of


The oath of procreation I have sworn--my Adamic and fresh daughters,

The greed that eats me day and night with hungry gnaw, till I

saturate what shall produce boys to fill my place when I am


The wholesome relief, repose, content;

And this bunch, pluck'd at random from myself;

It has done its work--I tossed it carelessly to fall where it may.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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The spontaneous and instinctive force within the poet is nature. The rising sun, the “blossoms of the mountain ash” on the hillside, and the grass are all parts of nature, as is “the friend I am happy with.” The “real poems” are inside man himself. These “poems of the privacy of the night” are sexual. Love and sexual passion and the human body are poetry. Man is compared to “the hairy wild-bee” that “gripes the full-grown lady-flower, curves upon her with amorous firm legs.” All things are involved in this sexual feeling, nature and man alike. The young man who “wakes deep at night” with “the strange half-welcome pangs” is ashamed and angry. But why should man, who is just one part of this process, think himself indecent when birds and animals do not? Paternity and maternity are chaste. Therefore the poet is proud of the “Adamic” in him (his sexual heritage) and has sworn “the oath of procreation” so that he may “produce boys to fill my place when I am through.”
The central idea of the poem is contained in the first line: “Spontaneous me, Nature.” The free, uninhibited sexual passion within man is indeed natural. Whitman presents two aspects of nature. The human aspect is shown in “the arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder” and in “two sleepers at night lying close together as they sleep.” The non-human aspect is exemplified in the “hillside whiten’d with blossoms,” “the hairy wild-bee,” “the wet of woods,” and “the dead leaf.” Whitman includes all the senses of man, although the emphasis is primarily on the sense of touch.
The poet has taken a vow of procreation. He is eager to give full and free play to his instincts and desires. In this he plays the part of an Adamic man. The sexual images follow each other naturally—the wet of wood, the walnut trunk, the apples—in keeping with the stream-of-consciousness of the poem itself. Thus the phallic is linked with the poetic and the spiritual.
Whitman, in presenting his images, makes use of many equivalents. Objects of nature and of human life are simultaneously presented to show the poet’s idea of nature within him. The cluster of images reinforces the idea and the title of the poem. (The poem was originally entitled “Bunch,” which expressed the idea of the cluster of images.)
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| Posted on 2009-11-16 | by a guest

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