"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What shall we do in the New Year???

Walt Whitman published his collection of poems titled Leaves of Grass in 1855.  The first edition contained a preface, which was left out of the subsequent editions.

My friend and fellow peace activist, Dorli Rainey, sent the abridged preface out as her "New Year's wishes for the world written almost 150 year ago and still valid."

It is, indeed, a worthy wish for the world.  It is my New Year's wish that we all take Whitman's advice to heart (and action) as we move forward this year.

Here is the unabridged version of the preface to Leaves of Grass. 
"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

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