‘O Me! O Life!’: Taking My Own Advice

One of the shortest of Walt Whitman’s great poems, ‘O Me! O Life!’ was featured in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society: Robin Williams’s character recites it to his class. ‘O Me! O Life!’ contains many of the features of Walt Whitman’s greatest poetry: the free verse rhythm, the alternation between long and short lines, […]

– via ‘O Me! O Life!’: A Poem by Walt Whitman — Interesting Literature

Despite yesterday’s post about positive-self talk, I failed to take my own advice afterward and ended up in a panic about how I was failing and useless (not true, but that’s what the gremlin in my head was trying to convince me). I’m awake early today trying to finish a lot of work that I procrastinated doing over the weekend. I found the above post by Interesting Literature and resonated with the eternal questions Whitman poses.

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

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

This poem was a comfort to me, and a good reminder that there is more to life than homework, lesson prep, and my anxiety.

I hope it is a comfort to you too today.

Meditation practice: Spend some time journaling or reflecting on the words in Whitman’s poem (full poem at Interesting Literature). What verse are you contributing to the world? Where do you see hope despite despair?

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