to walt whitman


Poets to come! orators, singers, musicians to come! 

Not today is to justify me and answer what I am for.

But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than

before known,

Arouse! for you must justify me….

I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you and then averts his face,

Leaving it to you to prove and define it,

Expecting the main things from you.Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass

i have heard you

I have heard your barbaric yawp penetrating

through time and I answer you

mine is the soft voice in the cacophony people brushing up

against each other, me, travelling at high speed

i know them all, I am them all the

musician the teacher the

engineer, the migrant worker,

the immigrant, the wanderer, the homebody

the maid, the scientist, the

politician, the single mother with babe in arms,

the married couple,

the homemaker, the preacher, the old couple sitting

on a park bench

the young lovers

the writer, the trucker, the gas station worker,

Native American, African American, Asian, Muslim,

Christian, policeman, fireman, physician

the same sex couple, the child, the son

the daughter, the father

I know them all, I am them all, my words 

your words

their words immortal the poet-priest in me weaves

through the cities, the country, the prairies, the mountains

the rivers, the lakes, the oceans

the farms

the ranches,

brushes by the rich,

the poor

the middle-class they are all of you of me

I sing their song chant their chants, the they of who they are lives

and breathes with me and in me poetry

not dead in this time but an after current of conscience not

readily discernible but thrumming as blood

running through the body electric the poets, the artists the heartbeat

so obscure the main do not realize it keeps them alive

O Captain

my captain

I have seen you in that song of myself one

of many songs thousands

who did not know their song

I have brushed by you in the crowds and looking askance

I define you in defining myself

o you






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