Leaning and Loafing with Walt Whitman

Considering how much I love Jane Austen, I really didn’t think I would mind having her dominate so much of my month but when I found myself sneaking in stanzas of Whitman’s Song of Myself like a kid with a comic book hidden inside a text book, I knew I was ready for a little more variety.

I feel myself going into a major Walt Whitman obsession. Although I am usually a very fast reader and can devour entire books in a few hours, I am really taking my time with reading Song of Myself. Sometimes I only read a few lines before I stop and digest what I just read. It’s a very evocative poem and I think it is worth the time to read at a leisurely pace.

With so much Whitman on the brain, it isn’t any surprise that he and his poetry inspired my latest two designs.

Walt Whitman Poetry Necklaces

The Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass Necklace (Left) and the Walt Whitman Poet Necklace (Right) are both available from Ciarrai Studios (www.etsy.com/shop/ciarraistudios).

The pendant on the left, which I call the Leaves of Grass Necklace, is inspired by a line in the poem, Song of Myself, which reads:

I loafe and invite my soul,   I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass

I live on Long Island, not far from Whitman’s birthplace and one day soon, when the weather is a little cooler, I want to spend a day there, reading poetry and enjoying nature.  I love the image of Whitman reclining in the grass, thinking up his lovely poems and so I paired the quote with a silhouette of a grassy meadow to try and evoke that feeling.

The necklace on the right is the latest addition to my new Authors and Poets necklaces. The Walt Whitman Poet Necklace features a black and white vintage portrait of Whitman over a bed of text taken from his poem, Song of Myself.

I had a lot of great passages to choose from when picking out the text for this piece, but at the end of the day I had to go with this section of the poem:

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

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,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

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.

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.

Maybe I have watched Dead Poet’s Society one too many times but there is just something about this stanza that I have always loved!

The Author and Poet series currently includes Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman but I am also working on pieces inspired by Tennyson, Poe, Burns, Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and more.


If you have a favorite poet or author that you are hoping to see, please leave a comment and let me know! But in the meanwhile, check my Etsy shop for more handmade literary jewelry. There is about a week left in my July sale and you can still get 25% off with the coupon code: FIREWORKS13.

And now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go back to reading some poetry! See you soon!


About Ciarrai

Hi. My name is Kerry but here online I tend to go by the Gaelic version of my name, Ciarrai. I am a woman in my mid-30's who lives on Long Island, NY, with my husband, Rob, several guitars, a Nikon D40, more yarn, beads and books than I care to admit to and a cat who has a million nicknames and quite a few theme songs. I have a B.A. in Psychology and have recently returned to college to pursue a teaching degree so that I can eventually get a job as a High School English teacher. In addition to my major obsessions (Reading, Beading, Knitting, Music and Photography), I also enjoy playing Board Games, going to Renaissance Faires, Museums and Broadway Musicals.
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