In 52, Whitman says, "I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable," echoing the idea from 51, that he contains "multitudes" and even "contradicts" himself. In the coda, Whitman revisits the idea that no one is a monolith; no one is uniform and consistent all the time. That is a good thing, part of our human condition. Whitman welcomes all of these potentially contradictory parts of himself, and he revels in them and their variety.
In 52, Whitman says, "I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love," echoing the idea that nothing dies, that "all goes onward and outward" from 6. In 6, he'd described grass as the "hair of graves," linking all life together, suggesting that the grass grows because and out of the bodies of those who were buried beneath it. Life and energy only change shape; they do not actually die. Now, he says that he bequeaths himself (to leave himself after his "death") to the earth so that he can grow into this same grass, connecting his life to that which will continue on. Also in 52, he even mentions the "white locks" of hair that he shakes at the "runaway sun," returning to the hair motif.
In 52, Whitman says, "The last scud of day holds back for me, / It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds," echoing the idea from 1, where he says, "what I shall assume you shall assume / For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." Here, Whitman connects his soul to the soul of everyone else in the world, suggesting that humans's very lives are linked together, just as we are linked to nature. We all share the same connected fate.
The majestic poem "Song of Myself," first published with the title "A Poem of Walt Whitman, an American," and later simply as "Walt Whitman" has three major overriding themes. These include the self as a unique cosmic entity, the union of self with others, and the union of self with nature and the universe. Along with these important encompassing concepts are numerous secondary or complementary themes such as the universality of experience, the ecstasy of life, sexual union, spiritual union, death as a part of life, and immortality by assimilation into the cosmos.
In Part 52 of "Song of Myself," Whitman primarily focuses on the themes of the union of self with nature and the universe, death as a part of life, and immortality by assimilation into the cosmos. However, he also touches on or alludes to other themes. For instance, when he writes of his "barbaric yawp," he is referring to his unconventional manner of expression in which he is open and honest about sexuality, freedom, and lack of conventionality. He twists the reference to the hawk complaining at his loitering into a comparison of himself to the hawk due to his wildness and inscrutability. He shouts out the message of freedom to the world through his poetry.
In the third and fourth stanzas of Part 52, Whitman describes his dissipation into the landscape. He becomes a part of it. His white hair shakes at the sun, his body becomes eddies drifting in the sky like clouds. He has become inseparable from the cosmos.
In the fifth stanza, when he writes "I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love," Whitman refers to the union with the universe that comes at death. The body decays, and the earth assimilates it. He has become a part of the vibrant universe that he loves, and he hopes for "good heath" to those he touches in this manner.
In the final stanza, Whitman encourages readers to not give up, to keep searching for the inspiration he provides. Since his overwhelming contribution is his poetry, he is expressing a wish that even after he dies, people will continue to find meaning and satisfaction in it. The theme of the union of self with others is expressed with the hope that readers seek out and find inspiration in Whitman's poetry.
A key theme that Whitman sums up in his coda is that we are all interrelated: individuals, the human species, nature, and the universe. For example, Whitman makes a connection to the hawk and by extension to other humans, the natural world, and the cosmos, stating:
I too am not a bit tamed . . . I too am untranslatable . . .
As throughout the poem, the "I" represents a universal self, not just Whitman.
Another key theme that the coda reiterates is that death is not the end, but a reintegration or regeneration in which the self lives on in nature and the universe:
I depart as air . . . . I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.
The poem's coda repeats that dead are not removed from us, but part of us. Just as the grass is the hair of the corpse earlier in the poem, here, at the end, we are exhorted to find the poet under our boot soles, in the dirt of the earth.
The last line reiterates that we are interconnected and will meet again:
I stop some where waiting for you.
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.