Song of Myself, Section 52

‘Song of Myself, Section 52’ carries us through nature’s cycles and into a liminal space, tracing Whitman as he shifts forms. I’m steered by parallelism and buoyed by metaphors as I drift with Whitman from human to dirt, with the peace I hope for when it’s my turn. – Siân Darling

Song of Myself, Section 52
Walt Whitman

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains
of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any
on the shadow’d wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

Dan Kyle. Detail from Across the Valley, 2021. Oil and mixed media on board, 180x120cm