from “Song of the Open Road”

Listen! I will be honest with you.
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes.
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve.
However sweet the laid-up stores,
However convenient the dwellings,
You shall not remain there.
However sheltered the port,
And however calm the waters,
You shall not anchor there.
However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you
You are permitted to receive it but a little while.

Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you, leading wherever
you choose.
Say only to one another:
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love, more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law:
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

— Walt Whitman

One Comment on “from “Song of the Open Road””

  1. Tubbo

    I tripped over the line “These are the days that must happen to you” a month or so ago and felt something click in me. I had been fretting about events of the last year of my life and this line spoke to me. I needed to go through all those losses, adjustments, disappointments, and disconnections I experienced in order to get ready for a change, a chance to go on the open road (which is actually just a new frame of mind right now but might turn into an actual road). I learned that the line is part of a Whitman poem and looked it up. These last two stanzas resonate with me (and, I am sure, a bunch of other folks) and I thank you for posting them.


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