Leaves of Laundry



I’d run into the downstairs neighbor in the laundry room. I was pulling clothes out of the dryer, he was getting ready to start a load. Somehow we got onto the subject of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and when I told him that I hadn’t read the book, he brought it to me. Placed it in my hands. A paperback book. Read this, he said.

Upstairs, I spilled the still-warm clothes onto the couch and sat down to read. At some point, I no longer remember when, the words spilled out of the book and into my body, striking the blood of my heart.

I leapt to my feet, astounded by the power of these words, sharp unyielding, beautiful, dangerous words, and landed on the couch, where I trampled, barefoot, not through grass, but over the clothes still piled up on the couch, causing the socks and the towels to dance, all of us rising, leaping, flying, swelling the house with our plenty.

The Library of Congress has a nice page on The Revisions of Walt Whitman. Worth a look!

Cast Dyes from the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. Source: Library of Congress

Note: I’m participating in the  A to Z Blogging Challenge for 2016. Lovely! Only fourteen more letters to go!








2 thoughts on “Leaves of Laundry

  1. I’ve tried – it’s fairly slow going for me but I think that’s OK. Writing like that is meant to be savored not just read through cover to cover. I find it helps to be in the right environment (outdoors) too.

    Liked by 1 person

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