Song of Myself: Section 44 - Summary & Analysis

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It is time to explain myself—let us stand up.
What is known I strip away,
I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown.
The clock indicates the moment—but what does eternity indicate?
We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers,
There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.
Births have brought us richness and variety,
And other births will bring us richness and variety.
I do not call one greater and one smaller,
That which fills its period and place is equal to any.
Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister?
I am sorry for you, they are not murderous or jealous upon me,
All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation,
(What have I to do with lamentation?)
I am an acme of things accomplish’d, and I an encloser of things to be.
My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs,
On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps,
All below duly travel’d, and still I mount and mount.
Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me,
Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, I know I was even there,
I waited unseen and always, and slept through the lethargic mist,
And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid carbon.
Long I was hugg’d close—long and long.
Immense have been the preparations for me,
Faithful and friendly the arms that have help’d me.
Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen,
For room to me stars kept aside in their own rings,
They sent influences to look after what was to hold me.
Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me,
My embryo has never been torpid, nothing could overlay it.
For it the nebula cohered to an orb,
The long slow strata piled to rest it on,
Vast vegetables gave it sustenance,
Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths and deposited it with care.
All forces have been steadily employ’d to complete and delight me,
Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul.


All forces have been steadily employ’d to complete and delight me.
Now on this spot, I stand with my robust soul.

      The closing lines of the poem convey that after having experience of life good or bad but very much balanced, the poet is standing all strong with his great soul. He feels proud of his robust soul which is far strong than the physical form. It is ever singing to unite with the divine soul.


      The section is a profound insight into the poet’s mystic experience. He supplies answers to the various questions in life. He repeats that he launches all human beings on a mystic journey into the unknown. He talks of the timelessness of time. Time is something boundless. Generations of people have traversed the earth. Posterity also will traverse the same path. There is no beginning or end to time. The soul too is immortal. It has entered different forms since time immemorial. The repetitive births add “richness and variety”. He considers all people of all ages equal.

      He never laments or weeps over the problems in life. He reveals that his soul is rich in experience of life, as it existed even before the stars found their places in the nebula. He is proud of his ‘robust soul’, which is ever surging to unite with the Divine soul. Whitman clearly shows the importance and greatness of soul which outdates the physical form.

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