“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.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven…
……………. Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation…..
………………………… And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.”
– Song Of Myself(6)
Walty certainly seems to believe that all humans are connected, similar and equal. This is evident from this extract. When the child asks Walty what grass is, he is at a loss for words at first. He realizes that he does not know the answer to this question. But on giving it more thought, Walty comes up with a number of answers. At first he says that grass must be the symbol of the hope of nature. But wait, it could also be the handkerchief of God. It seems, Walty believes that God left behind a little something so people can remember him. Or the grass could itself be a child, just like the child who had posed the question in the first place. The grass could also be a ‘hieroglyphic’. I didn’t really know the meaning of this word until I actually researched it. It basically means ‘ a kind of writing that symbolizes the equality of all things’. So yes, grass could symbolize the equality of all human beings since grass grows everywhere, irrespective of the place or the kind of people that would walk on it. And lastly, grass could be the hair of graves. After all, the soil is home to several graves of men and women and children.
These blades of grass can be so many different things. Just like one human being can play several roles. Just like one person can have several experiences. The grass is like a human, constantly growing, ever-changing and meaning different things to different people. Walty also talks about the continuity of life here. Even though the soil and the earth is home to a number of graves and is filled with death, fresh grass is born over those graves. Death leads to birth just like birth leads to death. Death is not the end, It may as well be a beginning, a hope. It may as well be a green blade of life.