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Whitman Transcending
by Phibby Venable

I am large, I contain multitudes."
-Walt Whitman

What if we are all large, and filled with multitudes
Today my daughter claimed, her angry self,
confronted a cruel stranger, and that it was her one
of many selves, standing up for herself
Inside each spirit is an individual who steps out, defends,
gentles, grows full soul to challenge the world
In this way we are never alone
Whitman spoke for the multitudes - their faces
of slavery, rights, religion, love -
all slipped through his pen into words that filled
an avalanche of vacancies
How could he help but see himself passing -
lungs shriveling to a painful close - so that he shouted
with poems - swinging his large head, always worried
by the beehive of voices
And when he flew, he claimed, nothing would be left
between his hat and his boots


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