poetry

I have urged you onward with me

For the past two weeks I have been surrounded by Walt Whitman.

First, there’s this poem, which hangs on my bulletin board at work. I keep in there as a reminder that the pay is, indeed, certain: every action, instance or circumstance ultimately provides some benefit—it’s only a matter of perspective.

Next, Karen and I discussed her recent school assignment: a paper comparing/contrasting the styles of Whitman & Frost. This brief discussion prompted me to randomly google a few Whitman poems, and to check out the Whitman Archive.

Then, I had a paper assigned this week on the ideals of masculinity put forth in the works of Whitman and James Fenimore Cooper. I cited a handful of Whitman’s poems, including “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” “Once I Pass’d Through A Populous City,” and “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.”

To celebrate our coincidence of Whitman assignments, Karen brought a six-pack of Walt Wit beer over on Wednesday and we drank the whole thing.

Every morning I hear the traffic reports on the radio mention the Walt Whitman Bridge and today it caught my attention, perhaps only because my reticular activating system is now on high alert for mention of Whitman’s name.

I spent a good amount of time last night poring over Whitman’s poems “Reconciliation” and “As I Lay With My Head in Your Lap Camerado;” both struck me as particularly meaningful.

I have a lot of reading to catch up on once school ends. But I think one of my priorities will be to truly immerse myself in Whitman for a while.

1 thought on “I have urged you onward with me”

  1. I took an Astronomy course in college. The prof (MacIntosh) started the course with “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” and said we would revisit the poem on the last day of class as well, which we surely did. It was the best mixing of academic genres I ever experienced.

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