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A few words from Uncle Walt

By John Published: February 10, 2010

In honor of the Annual Day of Reading and Presidents Day on Monday (schools and government offices closed), I'm thinking of  Walt Whitman.

In particular, I'm thinking of his famous elegy for the slain President Lincoln, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd:

WHEN lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

For more Walt Whitman, click here.  You also can hear an actual 36-second wax cylinder recording of him reading a poem.


More Whitman after the jump

















I Hear America Singing
 
by Walt Whitman
 

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the dayat night the party of young fellows,
robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.








And finally, one of the few poems I've actually memorized and recited for my daughter the hour she was born:

















A Clear Midnight
 
by Walt Whitman
 

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

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