My yoga instructor this morning said, “Never date a guy that doesn’t own a library card,” and as the class chuckled I was reminded of Walt Whitman’s “Inscriptions.”
“Shut Not Your Doors”
Shut not your doors to me proud libraries,
For that which was lacking on all your well-fill’d shelves, yet
needed most, I bring,
Forth from the war emerging, a book I have made,
The words of my book nothing, the drift of it every thing,
A book separate, not link’d with the rest nor felt by the intellect,
But you ye untold latencies will thrill to every page.
While I could not remember every word of the poem, Whitman’s words were on my mind throughout my yoga class. I began to imagine Walt Whitman in this morning’s “Bust your Asana” yoga class with me. Surely Whitman meditated. He may have been a Yogi and didn’t even know it! How would he react to the witty words spoken by my teacher? How would he react to me? Would he be a much more influential poet in my time than he was in his own? I assume he would love our extensive library systems and our freedom of speech. Would he be as much of a radical poet now? I think that one would probably be no, except that he would perhaps be an even more influential radical if he were to age in this era. As we near the end of our practice, the instructor prepares us for our “Shavasana.” This is the closing of our class which offers time to feel the effects of our practice and to rest as we lie down on our mat for 5 to 10 minutes. This is a very relaxing moment in our yoga practice which usually puts me into a little cat-nap. As I try to doze a bit, I am anxious about all the questions that Whitman has yet to answer for me, questions that I must now answer for myself.