In this poem Walt Whitman argues that everything is truth. Even things we think are “lies” are really not lies. There is “no lie or form of lie.” This is a poem of acceptance of everything. Even what is obviously wrong, and in our mind a lie, is really true — a true opinion, assertion, dream, hope. Maybe vague in form, but still true.
All Is Truth
– By Walt Whitman
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 inevitably upon 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
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 blood?
Meditating among liars and retreating sternly into myself, I see
that there are really no liars or lies after all,
And that nothing fails its perfect return, and that what are called
lies are perfect returns,
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 without exception;
And henceforth I will go celebrate any thing I see or am,
And sing and laugh and deny nothing.