I wondered, what if Walt Whitman had been sitting in this window seat, staring out through a plastic oval at the continent passing beneath the wing of this aircraft? What would he have said?
What would he have written, while observing his beloved country from 35,000 feet?
There would have been so much for an awe-struck mind to write, to sing about:
..the clear view, between wispy clouds, of the irrigated green circles and those circles only just-plowed;
of the alluvial clays, snow-capped ridges, and winding rivers;
creases within fruitful valleys overseen by battalions of windmills;
slopes darkened by parsley-sprinklings of forests, roads following topographical lines and not;
the sharp spines of younger mountains crackling with frost;
one sky, many blues: azure, powder-blue, milk-glass blue, an elusive hint of a convex horizon;
a winding canal, as if a gigantic earth-worm had passed through;
shadows of clouds thrown askance on the shades of green and earth;
the cerulean bloom of a lake amid the creeping glint of semi-desert;
soils red and purple, muddy-brown poison pools, with green edges;
further on, bolder cloud-shadows, echoed by the blue-gray imprints of thousands of lakes;
hints of drought and circuit-board towns, land scarred and tilled, and a dearth of mountains;
the flat continent, a chessboard with lines drawn impossibly straight;
there the borders of a tamed prairie blur, between New Acadia and its more aggressive neighbor,
waiting for the birth of a white buffalo calf. The holy forests.
What cannot be seen from here: laughter, tears, a one-legged man limping along a road;
a girl weeping in an alley-way, the children riding their bicycles.
What can be seen: a thousand iridescent puddles, rows of corn in the fields;
a fresh-water sea, a lake so vast, its edges are hidden from our perception.
"I am water, I am why, why, why, I want people to heal me, heal my heart;
Do not hate man, but do not love one who kills his mother;
heal me, heal me, hear me. We failed to tell you how we sing;
we sing of the bear and the mind of the whale,
covered melodies you cannot hear;
I love you, love you, love you, save my life;
follow the perilous path, and beware."
An aquamarine haze skirts the islands in the heart of a great lady.
"A man will be with you as he is with his mother.
If he is harrowing her, he will harrow you.
Beware. You cannot be loved if She is not loved.
Tell the earth she is your body and be with her.
Skin is part of your body.
Keep your soul by waking your skin. Be with it.
Hallow your body. Feed it. Take no wild for granted.
Be a hero, a hero is my life that can be with you if you save,
save the dew, save the bees, kill no one."
Another great Lady-lake passes below:
"I am your soul, be with me now;
I am your wide sea, I am your peril,
keep me wild, keep me awake, keep me whole;
I fade, my love, o my soul, where is your eye to see what I am?
I fear your love, I fear your touch.
I am your soul. When your body is in a marriage with your soul,
it says, pick my body up and love it.
My Terra, Terra wanted to tell the men, Wait.
They raped my body, and I am your pain and your body,
can't you feel it? There are men who have known no woman until they raped her.
This is what we have known.
"What is love? Find me. This is your soul, calling.
Let a man wear our pain for a while,
let him cover you with a cloud-comforter.
Be a seal of my love.
Be a fire.
Begin anew. Love a wild man."
A dreamless sleep falls from the shimmering leaves. --Sappho fragment, tr. Andrew Bellon I changed, thickened, ...
popular on this site
There is a song clinging like a drowsy bat to the dingy ceiling of a dungeon, deep within the labyrinthine palace of my memories, a melody...
Alexander Scriabin: the Poem of Ecstasy (English translation by Faubion Bowers) (See the original here .) Spirit, Winged with the...
What left knew how to return. How happy the time when, if a path disappeared, we knew it was only because there was no reason to go onward,...