A Child Said, What Is The Grass?

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
is any more than he.

by Walt Whitman Click to read full poem

Comments (31)

I love how it uses grass to explain the circle of life. He explains that those who die (their beards, their hair, the young or the old) nurture and feed the grass to grow and hence life continues around and around never ending and never waisting anything symbolising no ending only a new beginning. All that is lost can be re sewn, giving life to the grass and forming why and what it stands for an might be. Beautiful
Hey man, I can tell grass is man.
Whitman can go on writing like that forever. The 'wordiest' poet ever, except for maybe Ginsberg.
I am no expert, and I just finnished reading Walt Whitmans leaves of grass and I must say that I did not find it at all enlightening. I do not know what all of the raves are about, but to me he just seems to ramble on and on, jumping from one subject to the other.That is just my humble opinion, and like I said I am no expert.
Nope. It don't do it for me. Grass is grass. All flesh is grass. A fancy border round a plain picture which could stand by itself. A too-elaborate and unnecessary rif on a good old song. Don't deceive a child, the Bible says, don't say you cannot when you can. A poet preening himself with his poetical verbosity. There is something false and inbred about this poem.
The child may have asked a simple question to know the truth; but it requires a philosophical analysis to answer for the child to know the truth! It has provoked Whitman to give a long answer by this explorative poetry very nice!
OK I get it, I thought as I read the comments posted by POEWHIT et al about Whitman's 'A child said, What is the grass? ' It is all those things that Whitman imagined in the poem, as well as what you think it means. Poewhit said the poem captures 'the cycle of life, ' OK I say so what? Mahlanga's drivel about 'a new view of life' means nothing to a reader like me who eschews propaganda like his! Maybe a handkerchief deposited by God is the best poetic expression of all, I just don't know! Do you, dear reader?
Whitman and his understanding of life captures the cycle of life. Grass grows and renews each year. Only for life to trim it.
Life can be viewed in different forms and many have and may want to know about what exactly life entails, reading this poem has enabled me to change my mind set completetly and have a new view of life, hence life at times can give us what we aspire.I for one am on your side and say you are absolutely correct Whitman, TSG M.
'What is grass? ' the little mysteries in life are beautiful. God has created an amazing world, and all we can really do is try to figure it all out scientifically. I'm sure I could tell you what grass is, how it grows, and many other interesting facts. But does any of that matter? Sometimes we really just need to sit back and say, 'What is grass? Lord, why don't You tell me this time? '
It has spirit and optimism. I don't really know what to say about it that will do it justice. Walt Whitman is something else entirely.