Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day, November, 1884

Poets.org sends me an email everyday with a new poem, and it's one of my favorite things to see when I wake up or when I'm riding the subway (when I get most of my email-checking done).  When I read this one today, I was particularly moved, and I hope it moves you as well.  I've got high-hopes for this election (in case you couldn't tell, I'm a big Obama supporter), but even if you're not voting my way, please do vote today.  It's a privilege and a responsibility.
I Voted!

Election Day, November, 1884 (Walt Whitman)

If I should need to name, O Western World, your 
   powerfulest scene and show,
'Twould not be you, Niagara--nor you, ye limitless 
   prairies--nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite--nor Yellowstone, with all its 
   spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, 
   appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon's white cones--nor Huron's belt of mighty 
   lakes--nor Mississippi's stream:
--This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, 
   I'd name--the still small voice vibrating--America's 
   choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen--the act itself the 
   main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous'd--sea-board 
   and inland--Texas to Maine--the Prairie States--
   Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West--the 
   paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling--(a swordless 
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern 
   Napoleon's:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity--welcoming the darker 
   odds, the dross:
--Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to 
   purify--while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.

No comments:

Post a Comment