Thursday, October 07, 2010

Gift from My CHS Class

I'm taking a course at Cherry Hill Seminary called "A Saunter with John Muir and Walt Whitman--The Poetry and Politics of Nature." The instructor, Chris Highland, asked us to choose a poem from Whitman's Leaves of Grass to reflect upon. I happened upon this one, written in 1856, and it blew my mind, so I want to share it here.

Unfolded Out of the Folds

Unfolded out of the folds of the woman man comes unfolded,

and is always to come unfolded,

Unfolded only out of the superbest woman of the earth is to

come the superbest man of the earth,

Unfolded out of the friendliest woman is to come the

friendliest man,

Unfolded only out of the perfect body of a woman can a man

be form'd of perfect body,

Unfolded only out of the inimitable poems of woman can

comes the poems of man, (only thence have my poems come;)

Unfolded out of the strong and arrogant woman I love, only

thence can appear the strong and arrogant man I love,

Unfolded by brawny embraces from the well-muscled woman

I love, only thence come the brawny embraces of the


Unfolded out of the folds of the woman's brain come all the

folds of the man's brain, duly obedient,

Unfolded out of the justice of the woman all justice is


Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all sympathy;

A man is a great thing upon the earth and through eternity,

but every jot of the greatness of man is unfolded out of


First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be shaped

in himself.