Alan: At some point, Whitman became for me an avatar of the social and ecological awakening America needs, a sort of constructive Paul Bunyan, ever available to our imaginations, alive in some archetypal realm.
Whitman And Wilderness
Walt Whitman strode to the top of the rise and flopped down
on the grass heavy with care.
He looked West to where the wheeltracks swayed toward the horizon,
to the thin pall of smoke of the far-away burning.
“They need me there” he thought, “where the wilderness begins.”
And Whitman looked South to where the hard sun hammered the
earth and the people were drying like uncut corn.
“They need me there” he said, “where the wilderness begins.”
He turned North where the snowclouds smothered the hearts of men
and the animals crept into themselves and wept.
“They need me there” he roared, “where the wilderness begins.”
And he gazed back East where the city covered the ground and men
and all things coughed and groaned and stumbled blindly.
“They need me there!” he sang, “where the wilderness begins!”
Walt Whitman had gone up that hill to die, but when he looked
around him he saw, and swore, and flung his straw hat in the air
where the wild birds caught it and tore it and took it to
every direction of the circle of earth.
And he started out after to mend it and set it aright upon his head
and he never stopped once,
mending and singing,
where the wilderness
Nancy: Out of sorrow and pain comes unexpected strength.
Gulls For Congregation
gulls for congregation
he died so quick
body churched still
traps to haul
engine catching a rough psalm
he left a strong daughter
she was his boatman
tied the dinghy to the mooring
left the harbor
water for benediction
his life counted
sixty six sixty five sixty four
good years bad years
and the water sighs and heals itself
a ledge a cleft a leaning spruce
he will rest now
mist in the trees light on the water
for a lobster fisherman