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Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, you say it’s your birthday? It’s my birthday too, yeah!

Yep, today is my birthday. And as much as I’m like, “uhg, I’m oooollld now,” I’m also excited, because, well, I love my birthday. I think it’s pretty profound to celebrate our very fact, our existing self, our birth. And incredibly rare that we take a moment of gratitude for just being here, for breathing. Nothing to earn or prove, just, “yay! I’m alive!”

In honor of my self and your self, and National Poetry Month, I present snippets from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” a gorgeous poem that famously makes mystical beauty of our very existence. Enjoy:

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.”

“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.”
 
“Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.
I believe in the flesh and the appetites,
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.”
 
“Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from,
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.”
 
“If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it,
I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious,
Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy,
I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,
Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friendship I take again.”

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’œuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.”

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

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