Theories of Time and Space

I wrote my Trethewey essay on her first poem in the book Native Guard on “Theories of Time and Space.” I also just wanted to say I had an assignment for English 355 American Romanticism in which we had to choose one of Walt Whitman’s poems to perform an oral interpretation and discussion from Song of Myself. I just wanted to say that I chose section 46 and I was wonderfully able to connect it to Trethewey’s poem.
The first line in Whitman’s poem is “I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured.”
I immediately fell in love with this poem because I had just finished Trethewey and when I read the “time and space” I thought the two might be connected. As I went on to read the poem, he mentioned a “perpetual journey” and also saying how we “are also asking me questions and I hear you, I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.” I thought this was so cool because in my essay I discussed how her poem was a metaphor for a journey we were about to take through reading her book of poems and how we might be changed in the end because of it. And here Whitman is talking about a journey and he will show us, but it is up to us to go out and see for ourselves and find out own answers and make of it what we will.

All this was a little bit of a short summary, but I thought it was cool and maybe it might be of interest.

Here’s the poem of Whitman if you want to check it out!

I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and
never will be measured.
I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.
If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand
on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.
This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look’d at the crowded heaven,
And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs,
and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we
be fill’d and satisfied then?
And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond.
You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.
Sit a while dear son,
Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you
with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.
Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every
moment of your life.
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair.

Read more: Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, Part 46 |

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