This Is What You Shall Do

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

—from the preface of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, born on this day in 1819.

The older I get, the more I agree with every last one of those sentiments. Happy birthday, Mr. Whitman!

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1 Comment to This Is What You Shall Do

  1. May 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    And to YOU! This is wonderful.

    Thank you.

  1. By on October 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

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