Chalk and Poetry

And now, a note from our sponsor, I mean, our director Eric Zino:


This weekend, two things particularly uplifted my spirit. Firstly, the chalk drawings and messages that are surely everywhere...the two pictures here are of ones I encountered on a walk on Sunday evening in my town of Riverton. These and others like them appear anew and cheerfully every day and are so friendly and upbeat.


The second thing is this portion of Walt Whitman's Preface to Leaves of Grass (1855)


...but the genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors . . . but always most in the common people. Their manners speech dress friendships - the freshness and candor of their physiognomy - the picturesque looseness of their carriage . . . their deathless attachment to freedom-their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean - the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states-the fierceness of their roused resentment - their curiosity and welcome of novelty - their self-esteem and wonderful sympathy - their susceptibility to a slight - the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors - the fluency of their speech - their delight in music, the sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul . . . their good temper and openhandedness - the terrible significance of their elections - the President's taking off his hat to them not they to him - these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worthy of it.


April is National Poetry month and it's certainly fitting to consider the great American poet.  To borrow from one of his contemporaries, Mark Twain, Whitman's word are good and bear repeating.  

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