Song of Myself 31: I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars

Song of Myself Poetry 31 “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars” summary, critical appreciation, and notes for BA English Semester 3. Based on the syllabus of BBMKU and VBU University.

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Song of Myself 31

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,
And am stucco'd with quadrupeds and birds all over,
And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,
But call any thing back again when I desire it.

In vain the speeding or shyness,
In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach,
In vain the mastodon retreats beneath its own powder'd bones,
In vain objects stand leagues off and assume manifold shapes,
In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low,
In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky,
In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs,
In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods,
In vain the razor-bill'd auk sails far north to Labrador,
I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff.

Summary

“Song of Myself” is a famous poem written by Walt Whitman, an American poet, in his collection “Leaves of Grass.” It consists of 52 sections or “songs,” each exploring different themes and ideas.

In “Song of Myself,” section 31, Whitman explores the connection between the self and the universe. The poem celebrates the unity and interconnectedness of all things, emphasizing that every individual is an integral part of the whole.

The section begins with the line, “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,” setting the tone for the poem. Whitman suggests that even the smallest and seemingly insignificant things, like a blade of grass, have as much significance and worth as the great celestial bodies. He believes the universe comprises numerous diverse elements, each contributing to the larger picture.

Whitman uses vivid imagery and powerful language to describe various scenes and experiences, aiming to capture the vastness and diversity of existence. He encourages the reader to embrace and appreciate the beauty of the natural world and all its intricate details.

The poem also explores the idea of time and the cyclical nature of life. Whitman describes how everything is constantly changing and evolving and how death is not an end but a part of the continuous cycle of existence.

Furthermore, Whitman challenges traditional societal norms and hierarchies, advocating for equality and inclusivity. He rejects the idea of superiority or inferiority based on social status, race, or any other divisive factor. Instead, he celebrates the uniqueness and individuality of every person, recognizing their inherent worth.

Overall, “Song of Myself” section 31 celebrates the interconnectedness of all things, the beauty of the natural world, and the equality and worth of every individual. Whitman’s poetic style and philosophical ideas make it a powerful and thought-provoking piece of literature.