Who Learns My Lesson Complete?


Who learns my lesson complete?
Boss, journeyman, apprentice--churchman and atheist,
The stupid and the wise thinker--parents and offspring--merchant, clerk, porter and customer,
Editor, author, artist, and schoolboy--Draw nigh and commence;
It is no lesson--it lets down the bars to a good lesson,
And that to another, and every one to another still.

The great laws take and effuse without argument;
I am of the same style, for I am their friend,
I love them quits and quits--I do not halt, and make salaams.

I lie abstracted, and hear beautiful tales of things, and the reasons of things;
They are so beautiful, I nudge myself to listen.
I cannot say to any person what I hear--I cannot say it to myself-it is very wonderful.

It is no small matter, this round and delicious globe, moving so
exactly in its orbit forever and ever, without one jolt, or the untruth of a single second;
I do not think it was made in six days, nor in ten thousand years, nor ten billions of years,
Nor plann'd and built one thing after another, as an architect plans and builds a house.

I do not think seventy years is the time of a man or woman,
Nor that seventy millions of years is the time of a man or woman,
Nor that years will ever stop the existence of me, or any one else.

Is it wonderful that I should be immortal? as every one is immortal;
I know it is wonderful, but my eyesight is equally wonderful, and how
I was conceived in my mother's womb is equally wonderful;
And pass'd from a babe, in the creeping trance of a couple of summers
and winters, to articulate and walk--All this is equally wonderful.

And that my Soul embraces you this hour,
and we affect each other without ever seeing each other,
and never perhaps to see each other, is every bit as wonderful.

And that I can think such thoughts as these, is just as wonderful;
And that I can remind you, and you think them, and know them to be
true, is just as wonderful.

And that the moon spins round the earth, and on with the earth, is equally wonderful,
And that they balance themselves with the sun and stars, is equally wonderful.

Walt Whitman


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2007 Selected Poetry
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