Walt Whitman was one of the first poets, to break with the rules of poetry. He wrote in what we now consider to be free verse. This is his poem All is truth, about his view on how we see everything. Everything that is supposed to be true.
About the poem
Whitman believed that not everything we consider to be true, was or is in fact true. Opposite to these truths lie the lies. Is there no lie or form of lie, just like Whitman proposes in his poem? Is that what is wrong, always wrong?
This poem is obviously a poem that was aimed at the so-called critics of his time. Standards did not apply for Whitman and this lead to a lot of criticism. It wasn’t until later, long after he passed away, that we saw the beauty in his words.
Many of the poems we receive at The Ministry of Poetic Affairs are in fact free verses. Freedom to explore, to write, to think. These poems don’t always contain a meter or a rhyme. That is why poetry is art, that is why we at The Ministry of Poetic Affairs promote this form of art.
All is truth
O ME, man of slack faith so long!
Standing aloof—denying portions so long;
Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth;
Discovering to-day there is no lie, or form of lie, and can be none, but grows as
itself as the truth does upon itself,
Or as any law of the earth, or any natural production of the earth does.
(This is curious, and may not be realized immediately—But it must be realized;
I feel in myself that I represent falsehoods equally with the rest,
And that the universe does.
Where has fail’d a perfect return, indifferent of lies or the truth?
Is it upon the ground, or in water or fire? or in the spirit of man? or in the meat and
Meditating among liars, and retreating sternly into myself, I see that there are really no
lies after all,
And that nothing fails its perfect return—And that what are called lies are perfect
And that each thing exactly represents itself, and what has preceded it,
And that the truth includes all, and is compact, just as much as space is compact,
And that there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of the truth—but that all is truth
And henceforth I will go celebrate anything I see or am,
And sing and laugh, and deny nothing.
— Walt Whitman