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I Sit and Look Out -- Walt Whitman

Guest poem submitted by David Wright
(Poem #1042) I Sit and Look Out
 I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all
     oppression and shame;
 I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with
     themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
 I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying,
     neglected, gaunt, desperate;
 I see the wife misused by her husband--I see the treacherous seducer
     of young women;
 I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be
     hid--I see these sights on the earth;
 I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny--I see martyrs and
     prisoners;
 I observe a famine at sea--I observe the sailors casting lots who
     shall be kill'd, to preserve the lives of the rest;
 I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon
     laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
 All these--All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out
     upon,
 See, hear, and am silent.
-- Walt Whitman
    (from 'Leaves of Grass', 1900)

Monday's Yeats poem [Poem #1040] reminded me so much of this Walt Whitman
verse, I had to share it. Whitman looks at the world's load of woe, and is
silent. Of course he is not silent. His watching is witnessing, and what he
sees he says. For a poet this is enough, more than enough. Although his
words are far from objective, to overtly comment, to share his opinion would
reduce the enormity of what he describes. Whitman as witness.

- David

87 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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Did you know walt whitman was a volunteer nurse and is called the father of free verse during the American Civil War. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel

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Whitman's comments were insightful then, and, it could be argued, even more applicable in this era of war and politics.

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