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Top 100 or So Poems...POEM OF THE DAY -- "Leaves of Grass 11" by Walt Whitman

I love this stanza of Walt Whitmans classic, "Leaves of Grass".  I can just picture the lovely young woman staring out at the boys at the beach (Long Island, where Whitman lived I presume), full of excitement and naughty thoughts from behind the translucent draperies, the warmth of her gaze as it passes along the beach.  

I love the spirituality of the moment in which she chooses the one young man who may not be the most beautiful physical specimen, but who she connects with on a subatomic level.

She appears to choose this young man with her spiritual hand - which deems him of superior character.

And she plays with them on the beach, unseen, I assume settling with her lover behind the dunes.

This exercise in Walt Whitman immersion has taught me that Whitman is among the most spiritual and accessible of the American poets.  Why didn't I see this before?  I think perhaps it is the "traditional" picture of Walt (old man with white hair/white beard) - which is NOT the true picture of the vitality of the man.

This picture does it for me.  He's real.

Enjoy this weeks installment!

Leaves of Grass 

By Walt Whitman


Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore;
Twenty-eight young men, and all so friendly:
Twenty-eight years of womanly life, and all so lonesome.

She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank;
She hides, handsome and richly drest, aft the blinds of the window.

Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah, the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.

Where are you off to, lady? for I see you;
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.

Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather;
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.

The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their long hair:
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.

An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies;
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.

The young men float on their backs—their white bellies bulge to the sun—they do not ask who seizes fast to them;
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch;
They do not think whom they souse with spray.


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