I have been so wrapped up in considering chocolate, consumerism, and free trade, that I need a break. For my Wednesday quote, I looked for a poem. I came upon Oh me! Oh Life! by Walt Whitman—it starts with a world-weary tone, but ends on a positive note. Putting aside the 19th-century language, it could have been written today. If the white print on blue is difficult to read, please keep scrolling for the black on white version.
Oh me! Oh life!of the questions of these recurring,Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
Source: Leaves of Grass, 1892, by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist who lived from 1819 to 1892. “Whitman’s poetry often deviates from traditional poetic form; his writing often seems more like prose than poetry. Critics often refer to Whitman as ‘the father of free-verse,’ even though he did not invent this style — he just popularized it”.