Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Have You Ever Read Walt Whitman?

It's Walt Whitman's birthday today, and The Writer's Almanac excerpts "Crossing Brookyn Ferry" in his honor:
It avails not, time nor place-distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever
so many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a
crowd,
Just as you are refresh'd by the gladness of the river and the
bright flow, I was refresh'd,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the
swift current, I stood yet was hurried,
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the
thick-stemm'd pipes of steamboats, I look'd.

...

What is it, then, between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years
between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not-distance avails not, and place
avails not,
I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,
I too walk'd the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in
the waters around it,
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came
upon me,
I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution,
I too had receiv'd identity by my body,
That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be I
knew I should be of my body."

Happy 186th, you crazy old coot, wherever you are.

1 Comments:
At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laws for Creations

Laws for creations,
For strong artists and leaders, for fresh broods of teachers and
perfect literats for America,
For noble savans and coming musicians.
All must have reference to the ensemble of the world, and the
compact truth of the world,
There shall be no subject too pronounced--all works shall illustrate
the divine law of indirections.

What do you suppose creation is?
What do you suppose will satisfy the soul, except to walk free and
own no superior?
What do you suppose I would intimate to you in a hundred ways, but
that man or woman is as good as God?
And that there is no God any more divine than Yourself?
And that that is what the oldest and newest myths finally mean?
And that you or any one must approach creations through such laws?

Walt Whitman

 

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