I had not intended to go quite so quiet for quite so long, but there it is.
I’m enjoying living in a house again.
I’m not enjoying the results of the election, and the aftermath.
In the bleak times, I usually turn to poems. But this time even most of my standby poems-for-troubled-times aren’t helping.
Still, a mercifully, a poem has presented itself to me, an unlikely candidate perhaps, from one Walt Whitman the self-appointed bard of this nation. (Right now, it feels like he was overly optimistic about the Republic. But that’s another post for another day.)
I’ve been reading and re-reading section 52, the last section, of “Song of Myself.” And although the text may not support it (#sorrynotsorry), I’ve been thinking of our nation as the speaker, and of the citizen as the speaker. I regret that, as a citizen, I’ve been mostly gabbing and loitering over the past several years. I’ve been thinking about the work we have before us, and how the ideals of our nation are elusive and endangered. That we must put on our boots, sound our yawps, and keep encouraged. But not be conciliatory: I too am not a bit tamed.
I give you Uncle Walt:
from SONG OF MYSELF
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me—he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of the day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadowed wilds,
It coaxes me to vapor and dust.
I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you.