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Whitman compares himself to the hawk, and describes his “Song of Myself” as a “barbaric Yawp” (a meaningless sound, a crying out that only signifies that he is alive, with no “meaning” to his poem). He hints at his death, or at least at his coming to an end, with such lines as “I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.” “I stop somewhere waiting for you” may be the most beautiful, poignant line of the entire poem—compare Rumi’s “Beyond right and wrong, there is a field; I wall meet you there”. Here is Whitman’s invitation for the reader to share his world, to also sing the song of hiself, to live as fully and as enigmatically as he did (“Do I contradict myself” Very well, I contradict myself”). The flesh imagery suggests that he is willing to embrace, to devour the reader’s flesh, as an outward sign of being at one with all his experiences.
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