poems often remain inert objects only.
Like many mystics, he was hypnotized by external phenomena, and he often fails to communicate to his reader the trance-like emotion which he himself experienced.
This imperfect transfusion of his material is a far more significant defect in Whitman
's poetry than the relatively few passages of unashamed sexuality which shocked the American
public in 1855.
The gospel or burden of Leaves of Grass
is no more difficult of comprehension than the general drift of Emerson
's essays, which helped to inspire it. The starting-point of the book is a mystical illumination regarding the unity and blessedness of the universe, an insight passing understanding, but based upon the revelatory experience of love.
In the light of this experience, all created things are recognized as divine.
The starting-point and center of the Whitman
world is the individual man, the “strong person,” imperturbable in mind, athletic in body, unconquerable, and immortal.
Such individuals meet in comradeship, and pass together along the open roads of the world.
No one is excluded because of his poverty or his sins; there is room in the ideal America
for everybody except the doubter and sceptic.