Quicksand years that whirl me I know not whither,
Your schemes, politics, fail—lines give way—substances mock and elude me,
Only the theme I sing, the great and strong-possess’d Soul, eludes not,
One’s-self must never give way—that is the final substance—that out of all is sure,
Out of politics, triumphs, battles, life—what at last finally remains?
When shows break up, what but One’s-Self is sure?
Walt Whitman, “Quicksand Years.” Epigraph from The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan