Sohbet – It is Enough

While I was having that meltdown sitting in a park freaking out because I’d lost the capacity to think, feeling like I was losing everything that mattered to me, I dug out Selections from Leaves of Grass – a collection of Walt Witman’s poetry I’d just picked up in my adventure downtown. I needed something to focus on, to pull myself out of my panic. Even if I couldn’t think, I could flip through and let the words wash over me. Poetry’s meant for that anyway, something to feel, not to try to understand.

My eyes fell to this stanza from I Sing the Body Electric

I have preciev’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing, flesh is enough.
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
       round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as a sea.

In that moment, I was reminded of what I still had, and that yes, it was enough.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted (or even wrote) a poem, so I’m stealing Walt’s words, to start a sohbet. To hear your poetic responses to being surrounded by the beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing… (God, I Iove that line!)

4 thoughts on “Sohbet – It is Enough

  1. I can’t remember how it all started, but a few years ago I somehow became obsessed with finding a copy of Leaves of Grass. It may have been something I read that quoted I Sing the Body Electric. I searched every used bookstore I came across. And after a couple of years, I kind of gave up and was reconciled to the fact that I’d have to enjoy Whitman in snippets here and there.

    It was when I gave up that the universe brought me a pristine 1923 edition of Leaves of Grass. I found it in our local thrift store for $2.00. I glance from side to side, not quite believing what I had found. I surreptitiously and gingerly picked the tome off the shelf and embraced it in my arms. When I brought it home and told my oldest son what treasure I had found he said, “Mom, I’m going to inherit that when you die, right?” That is when I realized that my son was a kindred spirit.

    And coincidentally, I watched the Notebook last week with someone who thinks the world of me. Wonders of wonders, Whitman plays a small but important part in the film version of the story. How it warmed my heart to sit by my beloved, and hear those Whitman words spoken. You are right, Valerie. These poems are the language that is felt in the heart and not thought about in the brain.

    I do not ask for any other delight,
    but to immerse myself in the light of love.
    To feel the embrace of being loved.
    To hear the words softly whispered that I am someone.
    To see the beauty of the world reflected in a smile.
    To taste the kiss of moist lips meeting mine.
    To smell the fragrant perfume of breath expelled in wonder.
    That is treasure and pleasure enough.


    1. dear Donna,
      I’m just first reading now, after getting a few more tasks, ahem, started.

      Your poem is almost a prayer.
      well wishes, jyanti


  2. once I was able to live on very little

    who else have you loved today?

    once I liked my 4 day a week job
    and fantasized on the bus
    about what to cook myself for supper
    those days, I cooked it, too

    when I was 35 and living
    back in my mother’s basement
    far, far from even the water
    sunset became
    the greatest outdoor show on earth
    (this is a prime town for

    once I was proud of my deliberate talent
    of living on very little
    I thought I could live forever
    what little I long for keeps

    where is your thrill?

    no longer great radio
    nor learning to rollerblade before bedtimes

    these days I’m living on microbiology
    once more the river
    and when possible


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