AS A READER OF Walt Whitman, I learned that many researchers consider the 31st of May to be his birthday. That makes today the 190th anniversary of his birth. I've always liked the way Whitman defined himself. To my ears, he sounded like the independent and self-assured American that he was. Here is how he defined himself:
I know I am solid and sound.
To me the converging objects of the universe
All are written to me,
and I must get what the writing means.
I know I am deathless.
I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept
by a carpenter’s compass,
I know that I am august,
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself
or be understood.
I see that the elementary laws never apologize.
My foothold is tenoned and mortised in granite.
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
And I know the amplitude of time.
From Walt Whitman -- "Song of Myself"