Monday, May 31, 2010

{Walt Whitman is my HOMEBOY!}

For all my love of Thoreau, I think it not blasphemous to admit that I hold equal love for another--the greatest American Poet {and yes, in this instance I must capitalize Poet} to ever grace history, Walt Whitman. For all Thoreau's beauty and profundity as an artist of prose, he was a crummy poet. I mean...even in my semesters in Karen Hufford's Creative Writing courses in my college years, I probably could have beat out H.D. in a poetry contest--and I turned out some truly atrocious stuff, I assure you.

However, whenever my want for poetry goes unfulfilled by HDT's heavy handed odes, I can always turn to Whitman and feel my haggard soul rise a bit. Though the two men--who met on occasion and both read each other's works--were ambivalent about one another's writing, I have no trouble reconciling their differences and reveling in each.

And because no post is complete without photos {is it any wonder I prefer the Mister to wear a beard?? In fact...I gotta admit, take a look over there-----> and tell me that there isn't a resemblance. No wonder I think my hubby is such a stud! } :

{photo via BYU}

So, to celebrate Memorial Day, and the birthday of a great American Poet, the man who made the common people his hero, my favorite exerpt from "Leaves of Grass":

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we
may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the
same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and
from offspring taken soon out of their mother's laps,
And here you are the mother's laps.

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues!
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths
for nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men
and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring
taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
What do you think has become of the women and

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait
at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and

Happy Birthday, Mr. Whitman! Indeed I rejoice that you live on.


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