Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Hear America Singing

by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat--the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench--the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song--the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or of the girl sewing or washing--Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day--At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

Today, somehow, this poem makes me sadder than all of Emily Dickinson's strung together. I think it's the implied pride of each of the singers in what belongs to him. They each had reason to sing. Do we still?

I'll try not to dwell on it too long.


greenchickadee said...

I know exactly what you're talking about here. Yesterday I chose not to vote since the lines were over 2 hours long and I knew who would win anyway. There was so much excitement in the air, but the excitement was because of a "black" president, and no one who I spoke with really knew why they stood for him or what he stands for. Disheartening to say the least. I think he's a likable enough man, very dignified, well-spoken. But what is America anymore? I've been reading about objectivism due to your blog and I'm intrigued and find myself very interested.

LB said...

Welcome GreenChickadee and thanks for the comments.

I feel much less morose than I did yesterday. It is what it is - now I have get out there and try to make sense of it where and when I can.

Keep reading - that's exactly what I plan on doing, too.