Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
What makes the poem so interesting is that it is consistently paradoxical. You have to embrace the paradox. (“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. / I am large, I contain multitudes.”) If you don’t respond to one thing, you should stray to find another idea, and somewhere you will find yourself (and Whitman). There is a certain generosity of spirit, an inclusiveness and expansiveness that points the way toward the experimentation of modern poetry.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman and leave a comment on the lyrics box