O Me! O Life!

Here’s a great poem by Walt Whitman!

O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman

O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

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  1. barbara’s avatar

    Hi Mard,
    That’s a strong poem. It reminds me that each of us is looking for his/her own answers inthe scheme of things.
    That one verse seems particuarlly fitting in these times :

    “Of eyes that vainly crave the light of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d”
    We all are searching for that light in these last days before the elections.

    Have a nice day.

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Hi Barb,
    Yes, it is a strong poem, and that’s a good observation of yours. We’re searching for the light from confusing objects, and we keep struggling. Maybe the light will burst through if the right side wins!
    Thanks, and you have a nice day too.

  3. Dragonstar’s avatar

    Thank you for this. Whitman can frequently make my scalp tingle, and this is no exception. I used to have “Leaves of Grass” but it disappeared in one of my house-moves.

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    Hey, thanks Dragonstar. Yes, Whitman was an amazing person. We’ve got an old copy of Leaves of Grass that we look at from time to time. I like the Answer in this poem. Too bad your copy of Leaves of Grass disappeared. Not somewhere on that island?

  5. Sherry Peyton’s avatar

    Indeed, a lovely reminder from one of my favorite poets. It can at times seem meaningless, but it is all we have in the end.

  6. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks for your comment, Sherry. Yes, that’s all we have in the end, and it is wonderful to be a part of that powerful play.

  7. roselynmendoza’s avatar

    After reading this poem, I was moved by the word “contribute.” Yes, we must contribute in any which way we can. We must play a role, big or small. I’ve bookmarked this page and will print it later so that I’ll have my own copy of Walt Whitman. Thank you for introducing me to a great poet! 🙂

  8. SleepyLaKate’s avatar

    Um, Dad, no blog posts in a week? 😕

  9. Mardé’s avatar

    Jah, das ist recht, Kate! I gotta get on the ball here before I lose the knack.
    💡 ❓ ❓

  10. Missy’s avatar

    Yeah, where you been? Not that I have a problem with rereading Walt Whitman everytime I stop by…

  11. Mardé’s avatar

    O me! O my! I guess by now that poem is beginning to wear? How many times can you read the same thing, even if it is Walt Whitman? I’m working on another post which I hope I’ll put up soon.

  12. Armen Shirvanian’s avatar

    This poem is quite potent as it first describes various items that cause anguish for people during their lifetimes, and then goes on to say that the goodness comes from the continuity of the process. Contributing a verse appears to be what is being done more and more as people find new ways to contribute their voice to their external environment.

  13. Mardé’s avatar

    The goodness comes from the continuity of the process? How about that in spite of life’s seeming meaninglessness, we are here, part of a powerful play, and can make a contribution to it?


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