Beginning my studies the first step pleas’d me so much,
The mere fact of consciousness, these forms, the power of
The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love,
The first step I say awed me and pleas’d me so much,
I have hardly gone and hardly wish’d to go any farther,
But stop and loiter all the time to sing it in ecstatic songs.
[From Leaves of Grass]
To a poet the beginning to explore nature is the beginning of studies- as you begin you have to understand the alphabet of the fascinating world of nature, the nature of things and the layers of consciousness in which your own self lies buried. You have to look at yourself as part of this world of forms, the power of motion, the light in things, the way light falls on things and makes them out against the things of the world. In the process of taking it all in , a song bursts forth, a song of joy, a song of celebration much before you start experiencing the world in its fullness.
The music pre-empts exploration and the poetry robs you of the experience of going further towards the fuller and richer joys that lay ahead in this fascinating world. A wondrous adventure is lost in the setting of the song to its tune, to a mad pursuit of a rhythm. A poetry recollected in tranquillity is lost to a song that flows prematurely as we enter the world of “the least insect, the animal, the senses, eyesight, love” at the very first step.