Walt Whitman, all-American poet, died on March 26, 1892, but his bold voice still speaks to us. He called himself "a caresser of life," and so he was. Whitman sang praises to the body at a time when the prevailing sentiment was against any mention of the flesh in poetry or prose. He was a lover of nature in all its wild profusion but also a devotee of the drama and the dynamism of the city.

Ralph Waldo Emerson called Whitman's long poem Leaves of Grass "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed." Part of Whitman's genius is that he wrote as if literature never existed. A self-made man, he loved the diversity and brawny vitality of the American experience. This Quaker, mystic, and cosmic thinker had a secret weapon — enthusiasm for all things.

To Name This Day:


Read Walt Whitman's poem about the spiritual practice of wonder, "Who Learns My Lesson Complete?"

Prayers & Mantras

Pick a line from this poem or any poem by Walt Whitman and make a mantra out of it to use during this week. Practice it enthusiastically.