“To have great poets, there must be great audiences.” – Walt Whitman
Poet, essayist, and journalist, Whitman was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. He is considered among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse.
Born on May 31, 1819, on Long Island, New York, Whitman was an avid reader and writer as a child and began writing in his early teens. While he wrote hundreds of poems, essays and books, it is his masterpiece Leaves of Grass for which he is most remembered.
“Simplicity,” Whitman said, “is the glory of expression.” For Saturday’s Poem, here are two of Whitman’s simple, yet powerful, short poems.
A Farm Picture
Through the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding;
And haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away.
A Clear Midnight
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best.
Night, sleep, and the stars.
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