Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lost Quaker Journals: #9 -- John Greenleaf Whittier

From the archives of the Association of Bad Friends. All rights reserved.

WALT WHITMAN, on a summer's day,

Lolled ‘round the meadows sweet with hay.

Singing, of himself in his merry glee

Whilst worthy men crafted poetry.

Leaves of grass shall soon turn brown,

While other poetry still resounds,

'Tis songs sung of heroic human quest

Not some nameless longing filling WW's breast.

From whence do his strange thoughts bubble up?

Perhaps too much soma in his small cup?

He speaks of the grass and flowers and trees,

But never leaves his dingy cities

And low of cattle, and song of birds,

Are sounds his ears have rarely heard

Alas for poetry that’s a bunch of fudge,

I’d rather be a rich repiner than such a drudge!

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: "Whitman wrote again!"

Ah, well! for real poets some sweet hope lies

That his work be greeted by a printer’s denies;

And, in the here and now, angels may

Keep his “poems” from the light of day!

I hope, if I ever have some institution named after me, that nobody finds this journal of my really heartfelt poetry. Alas, that would be sad.

-- JGW, Ninth-month 19, 1860

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