All Truths Wait in All Things

Perhaps one of Whitman’s greatest descriptions of man’s connection to the Oversoul is found in part 30 of “Song of Myself:”

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,
They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon,
The insignificant is as big to me as any,
(What is less or more than a touch?)

Logic and sermons never convince,
The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

(Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so,
Only what nobody denies is so.)

A minute and a drop of me settle my brain,
I believe the soggy clods shall become lovers and lamps,
And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or woman,
And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each
And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it
becomes omnific,
And until one and all shall delight us, and we them.

The Zen-like, “All truths wait in all things” rivals Blake’s famous lines “To see a world in a grain of sand, /and heaven in a wildflower,/ hold infinity in the palm of your hand/ and eternity in an hour” in its simplicity and profundity. Both remind us of the imminence of God in his creation if only we are attuned to it.

The key word “wait” is reinforced in the next lines, suggesting that we must be receptive to the truths or they will remain undiscovered for they do not “hasten their delivery.” Neither are the truths hidden, though, because they do not “resist” delivery or require “obstetric forceps.” No “hidden guides” are required to find these truths; they stand ready for any willing to see.

Those who rely on philosophers’ logic or ministers’ sermons to reveal “hidden truths” are missing the point, for these truths are self-evident to “every man and woman.” They are not hidden between the pages of books, but stand in clear sight for any ready to see them. Neither secret knowledge or faith can reveal these truths; only a true openness to what is there will do that.

If we pause and consider who we truly are, for we are but a mirror of Nature, we shall realize the miracle of the earth where “soggy clods” can become “lovers and lamps.”

In Whitman’s world, the flower that dwells on the summit of the mountain feels connected with it, and that feeling branches out endlessly, providing us with a lesson on Nature’s unlimited power to create. When we have learned the flower’s lesson, nature will delight us and we Nature.

Loren Webster