Poet Walt Whitman, who is widely thought to have been homosexual, wrote this poem in the 1800’s. Could it be more appropriate for our current struggle for marriage equality?

I Hear It Was Charged Against Me
by Walt Whitman

I hear it was charged against me that I sought to destroy institutions,
But really I am neither for nor against institutions,
(What indeed have I in common with them? or what with the destruction of them?)
Only I will establish in the Mannahatta and in every city of these States inland and seaboard,
And in the fields and woods, and above every keel little or large that dents the water,
Without edifices or rules or trustees or any argument,
The institution of the dear love of comrades.

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

2 thoughts on “Institution”

  1. Brian, thank you for posting this. I have not seen this before, although I have been accused of seeking to destroy intitutions…. Walt got it right, it is not about institutions, but relationships.


    1. I watched a film last night in which the characters kept quoting the most astounding poetry. I finally figured out the quotes were from his book “Leaves of Grass,” which I found available online for free. As I began reading some of it, I noticed he kept referring to same-sex relationships in an almost subliminal way. After researching him a bit, I discovered it is commonly believed that he was either homosexual or bisexual. After learning that and reading the poem I posted above, I was astounded at how perfectly this fits into our modern day debate over the “institution of marriage.”

      Glad you enjoyed it. =)

Join the conversation!