A Hub for The Universe: Poem - Summary & Analysis

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I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one s self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel’d universe.
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.


      Introduction. These lines form part of the 48th section of the long poem entitled Song of Myself. In this poem the poet glorifies the body giving it as much importance as to the soul. In the remaining part of the section he describes that man should not be over curious of God who can be seen in the men and women around as well as in all objects of the Earth.

      Summary. In A Hub for The Universe, the poet reminds us that he has already said that the soul is not more than the body and that the body is also not more than the soul. Mutual sympathy among human beings is essential with which we can acquire anything on the Earth even if we are “pocketless of a dime” - the poet‘s funny way for saying “dimeless in our pocket”. If there is no sympathy it is no better than death. Ability to see and to grow plants is in itself a great deal of learning. There is no work in the world which cannot bring one reputation provided one assiduously pursues it. Even insignificant objects may constitute important pivotal centres of activity in the universe. Only thing is we must be cool and composed.

      Critical Analysis. It was the staunch belief of Walt Whitman that all the worldly objects are to be enjoyed by us and utilized to the fullest extent. Often he says that God is not a Being separate from us or superior to us. This may not be liked by orthodox devotees of any religion. As for elevating the status of worldly objects, there cannot be serious objection from any quarter. We have ample scope for shining and earning great reputation even in the humblest and meanest of human activities. No one can deny the importance of insignificant and trivial things because great battles too may be lost due to the loss of a nail in a shoe. The closing line of the quoted piece is highly remarkable:

And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.

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