In my old poetry book which I periodically read, I came upon a Walt Whitman poem, A Woman Waits for Me, which was part of a collection of poems called Leaves of Grass and which I had never read. Many of you probably never heard of the guy, but he was wildly popular American poet who, in those very conservative days, dared to write about sex, particularly regarding women, and was even considered by some as a pornographer. He’s still widely read.
Frankly speaking, the guy rates women on the level of Greek and Roman goddesses- even higher- which makes me wonder why. Women are perfect and a man must look forward to them- and not vice versa- to come to the perfect life. And having great sex was key to arrive at that state of perfection.
I called G, and he was well aware of the poem and of Whitman’s sex life. He said that the facts about his sex life are not clear except for one; he certainly was not a man whore or a ladies man, not even close. Some historians believe he was both homosexual and bisexual. Oscar Wilde, the famous British literary figure and controversial homosexual- he was imprisoned for being one- mentioned that he still could feel the lips of Whitman’s kiss after he returned to his country.
Anyway, what drove the man to rate women with Nirvana remains a mystery.
A Woman Waits for Me
|A WOMAN waits for me—she contains all, nothing is lacking,|
|Yet all were lacking, if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of the right man were lacking.|
|Sex contains all,|
|Bodies, Souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,|
|Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal milk;||5|
|All hopes, benefactions, bestowals,|
|All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the earth,|
|All the governments, judges, gods, follow’d persons of the earth,|
|These are contain’d in sex, as parts of itself, and justifications of itself.|
|Without shame the man I like knows and avows the deliciousness of his sex,||10|
|Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.|
|Now I will dismiss myself from impassive women,|
|I will go stay with her who waits for me, and with those women that are warm-blooded and sufficient for me;|
|I see that they understand me, and do not deny me;|
|I see that they are worthy of me—I will be the robust husband of those women.||15|
|They are not one jot less than I am,|
|They are tann’d in the face by shining suns and blowing winds,|
|Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,|
|They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run, strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend themselves,|
|They are ultimate in their own right—they are calm, clear, well-possess’d of themselves.||20|