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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Song of the Open Road

Because I am so into thinking of the positive, working toward the good, I went back to Walt Whitman's poem and chose a few of my favorite threads for here and to think on as I write and consider my life-- what's been and what's ahead. A woman in her 70s has less options than earlier-- but she still has them.

image from Stencil

From Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of the road.

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever beholds me shall like me,
I think whoever I see must be happy.

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me.

The complete poem-- Song of the Open Road


Tabor said...

The words of our heroes and poets and authors can give us hope. We can lick our wounds and trust our friends, but the rest is up to us when our energy has been recharged.

Rain Trueax said...

When we were first married, the books that made their way to our bookshelves were poetry collections as well as Leaves of Grass. I continue to buy poetic books now and again although generally not from well-known poets because I can get their work online. The last book I bought was Snapshots: Mono No Aware by Michael Browne, who is also a blogger, who I generally read but right now he's still in a rage over Trump and I am avoiding all rages. I think eventually it'll settle down and get more oriented toward supporting issues that are important and less about hating Trump (although Trump seems to feed on rage; so he's doing what he can to keep it going).

joared said...

Whatever my age I always look forward to the future. Whitman's words are optimistic, reflects my life view of the cup being half full. The election results are depressing to some. Though some may feel hate toward the individual heading the new U.S. administration's leader, i think for much of the opposition that is not the case. I believe their feelings are much like my own that we perceive our politics have gone wrong resulting in a rhreat to our democracy. We see parallels in this new leader's behavior and actions with those in world history who were authoritarian, aspiring to becoming dictators -- so that makes this new U.S. leader quite unlike any previous new administrations of any party assuming the top office. That is also what has given rise to an opposition quite different than the simple obstinance practiced by the previous eight years of Congress.

Rain Trueax said...

Some of how people see what's happening depends on where they get their news-- right or left leaning. Ironically some believe that NPR is unbiased but it's always been liberal in the programs it presents as well as what it wants to see done. I don't think an unbiased source is possible right now.

I thought about Trump and his governing style last night and it's not what people are used to because he hasn't come from government. He came from business. I talked it over with my husband, who has had fifty years of experience working with various levels of business and plan to write a blog on it for my rant since I keep politics out of here.

The thing for the left is they don't want what he's doing and it's as much an issue as how he does it. The people who voted for him do want what he's doing. This is what a divided country looks like.

Where Trump has little experience with politics, he's on a learning curve also. He can't totally operate as he has as a CEO of a lot of businesses where he answered to two things-- his own desires and what worked. Now he has to work with those who have other reasons for what they do and they don't always care what works for someone else but only what gets them ahead.

This is all very interesting for someone who has always found politics (in how it works for human interactions not government as such) of interest. I think it's why I don't feel the fear that I hear from so many of my liberal friends-- and those among my liberal friends, who are not scared (the very few) are like me and interested in process and why something happens. It is new territory though for the country and with media so sharply divided, between things like globalism and nationalism, it is hard for most people to even figure out what's happening.

It's an easy time to manipulate but I personally think that's coming more from media than Trump himself. He just throws out his thinking and in that sense, he's reckless. I've always called my husband a gunfighter engineer and Trump has some of that personality. It certainly could be disastrous as he's playing with very big things-- and where he might control what he does, he can't control the outcome.