Pluto Poetry

April 14, 2013

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I wonder if Walt Whitman was experiencing a Pluto transit when he wrote this poem. 
 
Pluto is now retrograde until September. The dark planet spends quite a lot of his time in retrograde motion, so it’s not unusual. He’s moving between 11’35 and 8’59 Capricorn.
 
You need to read through to the end to get the full impact of this, but it perfectly expresses the potential of a Pluto transit..
 
This Compost
 
1

Something startles me where I thought I was safest,
I withdraw from the still woods I loved,
I will not go now on the pastures to walk,
I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my

   lover the sea,
I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other
   flesh to renew me.

O how can it be that the ground itself does not

   sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs,
   roots, orchards, grain?
Are they not continually putting distemper’d corpses
   within you?
Is not every continent work’d over and over with
   sour dead?

Where have you disposed of their carcasses?
Those drunkards and gluttons of so many

   generations?
Where have you drawn off all the foul liquid and
   meat?
I do not see any of it upon you to-day, or perhaps
   I am deceiv’d,
I will run a furrow with my plough, I will press my
   spade through the sod and turn it up underneath,
I am sure I shall expose some of the foul meat.

2

Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick

   person–yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noiselessly through the mould in
   the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the
   apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale
   visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the
   mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while
   the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the
   hatch’d eggs,
The new-born of animals appear, the calf is dropt
   from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato’s dark
   green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk, the lilacs
   bloom in the dooryards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful
   above all those strata of sour dead.

What chemistry!
That the winds are really not infectious,
That this is no cheat, this transparent green-wash

   of the sea which is so amorous after me,
That it is safe to allow it to lick my naked body all
   over with its tongues,
That it will not endanger me with the fevers that
   have deposited themselves in it,
That all is clean forever and forever,
That the cool drink from the well tastes so good,
That blackberries are so flavorous and juicy,
That the fruits of the apple-orchard and the orange-
   orchard, that melons, grapes, peaches, plums,
   will none of them poison me,
That when I recline on the grass I do not catch
   any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of
   what was once a catching disease.

Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm

   and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with
   such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such
   infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal,
   annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts
   such leavings from them at last.
WALT WHITMAN
Pluto-Saturn in the 12th in Pisces, widely conjunct the Ascendant.
Thanks to poetry.org for sending me this.

Pluto, poetry

11 comments

Sabina said:

Whew! What a job trying to discover this – It appears this poem was first published in Whitman’s 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass on September 11, 1856. At that time Pluto was Rx cj his Venus. Of poss interest, his natal Chiron was sandwiched between that natal Pluto/Saturn cjn in the 12th.

Reply

Christina said:

Wow – great research there. Thank you for that. And doesn’t it show the deep Plutonian digging.

Reply

Sabina said:

PS I’ve got Mars at 9 Cap 29 and NN at 11 Cap 54 in the 4th and I recently came across these lines in Conquest of the Useless by Werner Herzog which speak to me of this transit:
‘I am like a dry streambed being dredged. My life seems like a stranger’s house to me.’

Reply

Christina said:

Ouch. Painful. Pluto in the 4th in any case can be really brutal but with the NN and Mars too…

Reply

Zahra said:

Dear Christina,

This is totally unrelated to the current post. I tried to send you an email at c.rodenbeck@yahoo.com to make an appointment for a consultation, but apparently the address is wrong. Is there any other way to reach you?
Thank you.

Reply

Christina said:

Oh goodie. That should work. It’s the correct address. I will check my spam folder, but do try again. The Oxford Astrologer is also on Facebook & we could fix it from there.

Anyway, have another go and get back to me.

Reply

Gilly said:

Such lovely, disturbing language. Is that how I should be feeling? Because… it’s a strange thing, my Saturn and POF are at 11 Capricorn butI’m feeling unusually upbeat and optimistic right now. I might be delusional (I have Saturn squatting on Neptune as we speak), but I feel like my life is coming together, and there’s genuine forward movement for the first time in YEARS. I just don’t know. I had a spectacularly good New Moon. Maybe it won’t last (because I have some *seriously* heavy transits going on), but I have always found Saturn to be a lucky planet, if willing to put in the hours. It’s Jupiter who seems to be the villain in my story. Pluto… I could live without. 🙂

Reply

Christina said:

Ooo that all sounds lovely. I think, carry on as you are!

Reply

Gilly said:

Thank you! I shall. And now I want to salute like Corporal Jones…

Reply

Isy Aweigh said:

I agree that Saturn is spectaculurly giving IF you do everything right 🙂
http://oxford-astrologer.blogspot.com/2011/08/kind-of-creepy-birth-of-venus.html

Reply

clarelhdm said:

Beautiful poem, thank you

Reply

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