June 12, 2011

Song of Myself

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I am quiet.
Always the last to speak,
and when required,
usually filling silent space
with meaningless words.
when extended,
they comprise a story
that holds much more.

I have strong fortress walls,
by nature and by design.
I leave people standing outside
for far too long
before I open the gated door.

I have before disdained these walls.
I have tried to tear them down
and scale the side of them.
But when I succeed,
I arrive on the other side
exhausted, disoriented, and vacant.
I let them be now.
I have opened the door
so many times
to so many people
that I am no longer afraid
they will keep anyone
who really wants in

I am worth the effort
and without them
I wouldn't have an interior
I love.

Inside the walls,
I am quirky and colorful.
Have I told you today that I love you?
Let me count the ways.
I have an eclectic curiosity
with a soundtrack of laughter.

Yes, I can. Yes, you can. Let's do this.
I am sheer determination and persistence.
Fiercely independent and sincerely collaborative.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
I take risks
and walk so far from my comfort zone
that I often can't find my way back.

I am not afraid to say
I don't know.

I am a listener
at my core.
Tell me your truth;
share your story.
I'll stay up with you for hours,
drain my phone battery,
show up and
cheer you on
as loudly as I can.

I'll tell you everything.
Share those stories
and ramble nonsense.
Ask the right questions
and then the silly ones.
I'll tell you what I hope
for me,
for you,
for the world.

And then I'll tell you how scared I am.

I am put together and I am a mess.
Organized and prioritized,
disheveled and sloppy,
overextended and overwhelmed.
I fall into black holes
and don't reach up
or let anyone reach down.
I find my way out and redirect.
I am terrified of falling,
but I keep walking.

I hold on tightly to the people I love,
even when they don't know it.
I refuse to see this as a flaw.

I am an idealist and a realist.
Yes, I can be both.
I utterly fail to function outside of my values.
Meaning and connection
are at the core.
Have I told you today that I love you?
I am worth the effort
and I am enough.

"Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you."

Title and italic sections from "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
A back door or an open window, if you are here, you have found a way through... 


  1. Kiersten McMonagleJune 13, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    Love the poem, Emily!  A couple of years ago, one of my high-school English teachers had us write out own "Song of Myself" after studying Walk Whitman's poetry.
    I really enjoyed reading yours :)
    <3 Kiersten

  2. this is amazing!