Audio recording of Whitman’s (1855) “Song of Myself” by Doug Storm (1:49:42)
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then . . . . I contradict myself;
I am large . . . . I contain multitudes.
I concentrate toward them that are nigh . . . . I wait on the door-slab.
Who has done his day’s work and will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?
Will you speak before I am gone? Will you prove already too late?
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me . . . . he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed . . . . I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadowed wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air . . . . I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you