"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Notable Quote: Walt Whitman

Well, Walt Whitman has been on my mind this week.  He was such a good soul.  He never had an unkind word for people, even those he opposed.  He embraced all people, even those from the South, though he was staunchly against slavery and supported the Union as a nurse to the wounded during the Civil War.  Last year I completely read his Death-Bed edition of Leaves of Grass, all 500 plus pages.  Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855, was his great work that he kept republishing with additional poems.  I think there were up to nine editions of publications, with the concluding edition dubbed "The Death-Bed" edition because it went into publication just prior to Whitman's death.  With each addition Whitman added and revised the poems, but unfortunately not all the revisions were improvements.  Sometimes the original poem is superior.  What I really like about Whitman was how he embraced humanity.  He loved everyone.

The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.

In his life time he was not appreciated.  That really disappointed him.  He loved the United States, and you can see that in many of his poems.  He was consciously the poet of America, embracing the land, the people, the life-style of his day, and most importantly the particular English language we call the American language.  He did for the American language what Shakespeare did for British English and Dante did for Italian.  He became our national poet.  It took a while, but after his death the country did embrace him as he embraced the country.

By the way, he was frequently photographed in his lifetime.  There are lots of great photos of him.  It was hard to pick one.


  1. We have a shopping center here named after Whitman, with a strange sculpture of him in fron, his head, with all that flowing hair, no neck, then a pedestal. Took me a while to realize it was him! His poetry has so much beauty.

    How is your mama doing?

    1. front, in front. not fully awake...:)

    2. I forgot to mention the places Whitman lived. He was born and lived a good deal of his in Brooklyn/Long Island (which i think was sort of the same thing at the time) and he lived in Manhattan for a while as an adult. He's really known as a NYC/Brooklyn poet, but when the Civil War came about he felt compelled to live in D.C. and take care of the wounded Union soldiers. After the Civil War somehow he made his way to Philadelphia. If I knew why he settled there I've now forgotten. But he lived for over twenty years of his life there and the city seems to have embraced him. Besides your Mall there's a major bridge named after him and the NJ Turnpike rest stop by the Philly exit.

      My mother came out of the operation fine. Doctor/surgeon said it went well. We'll know when we take off the bandages in ten days or so. I'll post an update in the Faith Filled Friday.

    3. Good news on your Mom!

      I hope all continues to go well for her.

  2. How could I have forgotten the bridge!? Haha, it's a stone's throw from my house.
    Good to hear about your mother, and glad you will keep us updated. She must be a real trooper! I will remember her in my prayers.