Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Poem by Walt Whitman: "One Hour to Madness and Joy"

Okay. So I'm flipping out today. I mean, the hamster in my brain is going 65 mph, my stomach's in a knot, my head's swimming, my blood seems to be frothed in my veins, and even though I took a Xanax to chill me right the hell out it seems to have done nothing more than to make me yawn amidst all of this freaking.

Why, you ask, am I so worked up? What's the buzz?  The buzz is simple: tonight is our literary awards ceremony. Every year I "plan" this event and every year I get more worked up, if that's possible, before it happens, even though I've tried to make it low key and to put it into perspective.  This morning I woke up, ding, at 4:45 and my brain said, shit, and then, hell, it's just an event, what's the worst that'll happen?  No one will show.  None of the winners will be in the audience.  And so you'll get to hang out with the incomparable Rebecca Meacham, eat cookies and dessert bars, drink lemonade, and generally diss on the world together.

Too bad I don't really listen to my brain.

Seems like I need a shot of the incomparable Walt to put me into the right frame of reference.

I'll re-read this at 6:30.


One Hour to Madness and Joy

Walt Whitman

One hour to madness and joy!
O furious! O confine me not!
(What is this that frees me so in storms?
What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds mean?)

O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other man!
O savage and tender achings!
(I bequeath them to you, my children,
I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and bride.)

O to be yielded to you, whoever you are, and you to be yielded to me, in defiance of the world!
O to return to paradise! O bashful and feminine!
O to draw you to me! -- to plant on you for the first time the lips of a determin'd man!

O the puzzle -- the thrice-tied knot -- the deep and dark pool! O all untied and illumin'd!
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last!
O to be absolv'd from previous ties and conventions -- I from mine, and you from yours!
O to find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best of nature!
O to have the gag remov'd from one's mouth!
O to have the feeling, to-day or any day, I am sufficient as I am!

O something unprov'd! something in a trance!
O madness amorous! O trembling!

O to escape utterly from others' anchors and holds!
To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous!
To court destruction with taunts -- with invitations!
To ascend -- to leap to the heavens of love indicated to me!
To rise thither with my inebriate Soul!
To be lost, if it must be so!
To feed the remainder of life with one hour of fulness and freedom!
With one brief hour of madness and joy.

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