Crucial Quotes #3

“To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.”

-Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892)

Often refered to as the Father of free verse; Walt Whitman was an American poet who never shied away from taboo topics of death or sex. I engorged myself on Leaves of Grass in my last year of high school and as I entered college.

I found his style conversational and profoundly comforting. When the opportunity came to take American Literature I pounced on it. My final paper was written on Whitty and one of my lasting memories is today’s quote.

It is a reminder to me that no matter how bogged down I get with day-to-day life I am still here.

Here in this magnificent world, alive and not suffering. I may complain and whine but then the sight of  purple tinged clouds at dusk will bring about an amazing feeling of awe.

Those feelings carry me. When I am low and discouraged the sounds of birds or the intricacies of the human body will bring me to the realization that every thing around me must be the result of magic. How did we evolve to this perpetual state of miracles? Everywhere we look there is something wonderous to behold. One just needs to open up to the possibilities.

This quote sums so much into such few words. The wonderfulness of the nature and our world can’t possibly be summed by one simple sentence, can it? I think it can and that’s just another reason why everything around us is an Unspeakably Perfect Miracle.

Today’s quote is actually a paraphrase from Whitman’s  Poem of Perfect Miracles (Leaves of Grass 1856).

“WHY! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love–or sleep in the bed at night with
any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds–or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down–or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best–
mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans–or to the soiree–or to the opera,
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or behold children at their sports,
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring–yet each distinct, and in its place.

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,
and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships,
with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?”


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