Song of Myself

craft, Life, literature, poetry, poets


This has been such a joy to create – I have been meaning to create a handmade book based on some of the epic poem by the American poet Walt Whitman for some years, so this lockdown crisis created the perfect opportunity.  Whitman wrote to a friend that the poet Emerson had brought him to a boil – ‘I was simmering, simmering, simmering’..On completion of Song of Myself, he sent his hero  a copy of Leaves of Grass, to which Emerson wrote the reply, “It has the best merits,namely, of fortifying and encouraging.” That it does, and continues to do so. ‘Leaves of Grass’ is the ultimate expression of a large man – an expansive, modern man. There are lots of very good essays available on the biography of Whitman, and  a host of work on his work. The best thing of all is to get straight into the poems, and rest there.

I have chosen some of my favourite pieces – no doubt those choices will change over time, and illustrated them , then printed and sewn into a small book to add to a collection somewhere!

You can find it available in my store at Etsy.  Book at Etsy




Spontaneous Me

Art, illustration, Life, literature


Spontaneous Me

Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892

Spontaneous me, Nature,
The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am happy with,
The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder,
The hill-side whiten’d with blossoms of the mountain ash,
The same, late in autumn—the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple, and light and dark green,
The rich coverlid of the grass—animals and birds—the private untrimm’d bank—
the primitive apples—the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments—the negligent list of one after another, as I happen to call
them to me, or think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely pictures,)
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men like me,
This poem, drooping shy and unseen, that I always carry, and that all men carry,
(Know, once for all, avow’d on purpose, wherever are men like me, are our lusty, lurking,
masculine poems;)
Love-thoughts, love-juice, love-odor, love-yielding, love-climbers, and the climbing sap,
Arms and hands of love—lips of love—phallic thumb of love—breasts of
love—bellies press’d and glued together with love,
Earth of chaste love—life that is only life after love,
The body of my love—the body of the woman I love—the body of the man—the body of
the earth,
Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west,
The hairy wild-bee that murmurs and hankers up and down—that gripes the full-grown
lady-flower, curves upon her with amorous firm legs, takes his will of her, and holds himself
tremulous and tight till he is satisfied,
The wet of woods through the early hours,
Two sleepers at night lying close together as they sleep, one with an arm slanting down across
and below the waist of the other,
The smell of apples, aromas from crush’d sage-plant, mint, birch-bark,
The boy’s longings, the glow and pressure as he confides to me what he was dreaming,
The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl, and falling still and content to the ground,
The no-form’d stings that sights, people, objects, sting me with,
The hubb’d sting of myself, stinging me as much as it ever can any one,
The sensitive, orbic, underlapp’d brothers, that only privileged feelers may be intimate where
they are,
The curious roamer, the hand, roaming all over the body—the bashful withdrawing of flesh
where the fingers soothingly pause and edge themselves,
The limpid liquid within the young man,
The vexed corrosion, so pensive and so painful,
The torment—the irritable tide that will not be at rest,
The like of the same I feel—the like of the same in others,
The young man that flushes and flushes, and the young woman that flushes and flushes,
The young man that wakes, deep at night, the hot hand seeking to repress what would master
him; The mystic amorous night—the strange half-welcome pangs, visions, sweats,
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling encircling fingers—the young man all color’d,
red, ashamed, angry;
The souse upon me of my lover the sea, as I lie willing and naked,
The merriment of the twin-babes that crawl over the grass in the sun, the mother never turning
her vigilant eyes from them,
The walnut-trunk, the walnut-husks, and the ripening or ripen’d long-round walnuts;
The continence of vegetables, birds, animals,
The consequent meanness of me should I skulk or find myself indecent, while birds and animals
never once skulk or find themselves indecent;
The great chastity of paternity, to match the great chastity of maternity,
The oath of procreation I have sworn—my Adamic and fresh daughters,
The greed that eats me day and night with hungry gnaw, till I saturate what shall produce boys to
fill my place when I am through,
The wholesome relief, repose, content;
And this bunch, pluck’d at random from myself;
It has done its work—I tossed it carelessly to fall where it may.


If you would like more illustration, then I sell some illustration work on Etsy and also sell prints via Society6 , Redbubble and other Print on Demand sites.

Link to all my work at





Singing Myself with Walt Whitman

blogging, illustration, literature, poetry

Excerpts from Walt Whitman 'Song of Myself'


Next project reveals itself as an epic.  There are parts of Walt Whitman’s marvelous poem that I want to record in one of my handmade books.

I have only just started compiling the extracts, it is an ongoing project which  I am going to thoroughly enjoy.  The illustrations are from botanical illustrations from 1821 by J.Th.Descourtilz.

Do you know Walt Whitman’ s poem and if you do, what does it mean to you?

Who are you? You think you know?

Art, philosophy, poetry, Science

map in cover2x  Anne CorrLots of things are whizzing around my brain at the moment, all trying to interconnect and make some fabulous pattern, as you might see on a snowflake up close and personal, but instead it feels more like one of those bumper ride cars at the fair, where the idea is to miss rather than to collide, but everyone bumps each other and much mayhem proceeds. So where to start the unravelling tonight?

Microbes. Microbes make up so much of us, that without them we just wouldn’t be. For every human cell , there are  about ten times as many microbial cells, mainly bacteria. Spooky.  This was revealed to me on a brilliant radio programme

Within the programme there were fascinating details about the parallel worlds of colonies of bacteria, fungi,eukaryotes, viruses etc that make up the human microbiome.  Our human cells and the microbial cells are symbiotic,  they rely on each other to exist.  We are playing host to their worlds, in a similar way that the Earth is playing host to us.  It is thus scientifically expressed how interdependent the living organism of the universe is. We are beginning to shed yet more light on explaining the connections that tie us to the air, to the earth, to the fabric of existence.

Since man started to use language , we have tried to explain life, it’s abundance, it’s range, it’s mechanisms.  We have used our senses to feel the interconnectedness, and our intellectual capacities to express it through art, music , language, dance.  The sense of ‘individual self’ has been questioned by religions, philosophies and poets since the dawn of language; now science is illuminating how erroneous a rigid sense of individual ‘self’ is.  O f course we live our individual lives within a sense of a body separate to other physical entities, but separate is different from being in isolation from.  John Donne’s poem ‘ No man is an island’ comes to mind, as does the Buddhist understanding that we are all One.

Perhaps this exciting development in studying the human microbiome will lead us to develop further understanding into our place in the universe, no longer the pinnacle of evolution, master of all we survey.  Perhaps we can start acting more like guests at the party, remembering our manners.

Walt Whitman says it here, in the spirit of others before and after him.

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