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Walt Whitmans This Compost similar to most of his poetry is written is free verse therefor instead of using rhyme and meter to create an underlying rhythm he creates a rhythm with his gradual flow of thoughts and abundant use of repetition Also similar to many of Whitmans poems This Compost emphasizes nature the physical body sexuality and the phenomenon of common ordinary things The poem is written in first person and is merely the thought process of the narrator as he reflects on self-proposed questions The main question the narrator asks himself or more accurately proposes to nature is how the earth can create new non-diseased life from the infectious waste that is put into it The overall meaning of the poem is also the answer to this question but what is this answer how is it related to the title of the poem and how is it gradually revealed from stanza to stanza The first stanza introduces the narrators love of nature as well as his first conception of the poems main question He describes his love of the woods pastures and the sea however the very first line introduces the fact that he is forced to leave these woods because something has startled him The wording of the first line implies that he is startled by something concrete such as an animal or disaster however it is later revealed that the narrator is startled by the idea that everything must be diseased because it was formed from particles that were once diseased The narrator no longer feels confident in the purity and cleanliness of nature and thus no longer feels safe living in it In this first stanza Whitman uses the anaphora I will as well as the simile I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other flesh to renew me Whitman uses these poetic devices to convey his love of nature by comparing nature to
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