Reconciliation

Word over all, beautiful as the sky,

Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time

be utterly lost,

That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly

softly wash again, and ever again, this soil’d world;

For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead,

I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin––

I draw near,

Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face

in the coffin.

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and

measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much

applause in the lecture-room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman understood that genuine reconciliation after the Civil War was the only way to heal the nation. More essentially, Whitman appears to have been a man in love with all existence and spiritually incapable of ego-centered hatreds and resentments. During his lifetime many of his admirers felt that he was as great a spiritual teacher as he was a master of poetry. His friend, Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke, believed that “something of that spiritual elevation can still be seen” in this photograph. It was probably taken in 1854 by the photographer Gabriel Harrison. Born in 1819, Walt Whitman died on May 31, 1892.

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Comments

nan shartel May 27, 2010 @ 6:22 a.m.

the second poem so resonates with me..the tedious objectivity of the scientific specifics of things intellectual...the boredom it brings eventually

juxtaposed with the feelings developed by the experience of stargazing...Walt Whiitman is my favorite poet

http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/famemovie/isingthebodyelectric.htm

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chendri887 May 28, 2010 @ 1:43 p.m.

Both poems resonate with me. Whitman--such a master with the free verse!

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antigeekess May 30, 2010 @ 9:29 a.m.

I LOVE Uncle Walt. In fact, not 15 minutes ago I attached a quote from him to the bottom of an email, then clicked over here to find his face popping up at me.

Gotta love those little Sunday Synchronicities.

:0)

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