Song of Myself: Section 51 - Summary & Analysis

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The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.
Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.
Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?
Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?


I concentrate toward them that are high, I want on the door slab.

      Here the poet, being optimist look forward towards bright future full of happiness and he aspires to achieve that is high.


      The poet invokes the imaginary listener, may be the reader, to join him on his mystic journey. The poet says the past is over. The present is almost over, and assumes that happiness is in store in the future. It reminds the reader of a line of T.S. Eliot:

...Time past and Time present
is present in Time future....

      Whitman wants the reader to confide everything in him. The poet is ever ready to accept everything, as:

I am large, I contain multitudes.

      His vast self encompasses everything. The poet has no time to linger long. He invites the listener to join him on his journey:

Who has done his day's work?
Who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?

      He wants them to join him so that they can also derive the wisdom out of mystical insight.

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