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Calamus & Carpus
(myth) Greece




Calamus (also spelled Kalamos) was a son of the river-god Maeander. He was united in tenderest love with Carpus (Karpos), the son of Zephyrus and one of the Horae, a youth of surpassing beauty. When both were bathing in the Maeander and swimming for a wager, Carpus was drowned. In his grief, Calamus was changed into a reed, and when it rustled in the wind the ancients heard in the sound a song of lamentations.

Whitman's Calamus Poems celebrate man to man love.

I will plant companionship thick as trees
along all the rivers of America,
and along the shores of the great lakes,
and all over the prairies,
CalamusI will make inseparable cities
with their arms about each other's necks
By the love of comrades,
By the manly love of comrades.

The image of the calamus plant is repeatedly used throughout as a symbol of male love, lust and affection.

Many have noted that the flower of the calamus reed suggests the image of the erect human penis.


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