Being introduced to the poetry of Walt Whitman was a major surprise in my college days. I didn’t know that such thinking existed; a view of life so rich, so sensitive, so inclusive, so celebratory. His words were like magic to my ears and my original, dog-eared copy of Leaves of Grass still occupies my bookshelf, it having been my companion at various time in my life. I recommend everyone to read his epic Song of Myself. A new diversity of friends and thinking, questions about the human condition, philosophy, psychology, critical thinking, sociology, the arts, literature, a bigger worldview - these were the real gifts of college well beyond any practical training, and the words of Whitman played no smallpart in bringing about changes in my life.
Not until many years did I begin to understand and appreciate the spiritual depth of Whitman's writings. His prophetic words appeared in the lines: "I will not make a poem nor the least part of a poem but has reference to the soul. Because having look'd at the objects of the universe, I find there is no one nor any particle of one but has reference to the soul." And true to his understanding every poem has a spiritual underpinning, often unseen and sometimes misunderstood or ridiculed.
Here are some of my favorite selections from Leaves. of Grass