Sit and Write | Teen Ink

Sit and Write

October 28, 2007
By Anonymous

"The Sound of Rain,
Walt Whitman’s Pitter-Patter Footsteps On My Brain"

Thunder crashing. Sky raging. Squirrels scrambling to their trees. Old men wrapping themselves tightly in woolen blankets. Children gazing wide-eyed out the foggy window panes.

Task- sit down and write an essay that will impress a college.

Write an essay now? with the pitter-patter thumping on this house’s roof like a million schoolyard galoshes marching. Rather be outside, building a dam in the ditch. Not unlike Walt Whitman I suppose– the man I was planning on writing about all along.

Hmm? What might Walt Whitman be doing now? He’d probably be humming a brick layer’s tune, while dangling a piece of straw between his coarse lips, imagining all the people that must be sopping wet out there, all alone, in the big world. A modest fire crackling in the ancient fire place, inside the oak cabin hidden in the secluded wilderness, barefoot. Or maybe in city, prancing hand in hand with men of all trades in the downpour. Walt Whitman once spoke to the rain, and the rain spoke back:

“I am the Poem of Earth...

Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,

Upward to Heaven...

And forever by day and night, I give back life to my own origin”.

That Divine Beauty in all things I love so much about Walt Whitman. He sees all things through pure eyes, squinting beyond the rain itself, and instinctively into the elemental Truth of the Sacred Cycle.

Okay. Time to get a little basic. What has Walt Whitman taught me? Well, above all else, he has taught me unconditional love in the highest form. I’ve never ridden the Brooklyn Ferry, but I can see before me every face–“Glories strung like beads on my slightest sights and hearings”–ever to traverse that portion of the East River, contemplating the peculiarity of his suffering life, the uniqueness of his experience, and the bond that unites him with every human being on this planet. Bottom line: Everyone matters– “The mason...The boatman...The shoemaker...The wood-cutter...Each singing what belongs to him or her.”

Walt Whitman has also shown me the keys to living a full and just life:

Live freely,

Breathe in life at every moment,

Think of everyone as your brother.

That is, live freely within nature–town or country, all the same–and pave your own way toward enlightenment. Cherish your interactions with people above all else. And do your part to help mankind, your fellow brothers in travel. Strive to live in harmony with all of humanity and work to better the lives of those around you. We are here for each other. We matter because we matter to other people. I matter because someone knows I exist. You matter because I know you exist.

These are the Truths Walt Whitman has taught me. These are the lessons I carry with me always. On days of endless rain, and too on days of gleaming sunlight rays, I remember these lessons all the same, I remember these lessons all the same. And I remember how much I love Walt Whitman.

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