Saturday, April 15, 2006

Audio Blog: Walt Whitman's America

Photo AP

Walt Whitman's lines from "Ontario's Blue Shores" in Leaves of Grass seem particularly relevant as we read about the national ground swell of support for immigration reform.

Click to play the audio reading of the poem as you scan the lines...

O I see flashing that this America is only you and me,
Its power, weapons, testimony, are you and me,
Its crimes, likes, thefts, defections, are you and me,
Its Congress is you and me,
(The officers, capitols, armies, ships, are you and me,
Its endless gestations of new States are you and me,
The war (that war so bloody and grim, the war I will henceforth forget) was you and me,
Natural and artificial are you and me,
Freedom, language, poems, employments, are you and me,
Past, present, future, are you and me.

I dare not shirk any part of myself,
Not any part of America good or bad,
Not to build for that which builds for mankind,
Not to balance ranks, complexions, creeds, and the sexes,
Not to justify science, nor the march of equality,
Nor to feed the arrogant blood of the brawn beloved of time. . . .

And a little further on...

I am for those who walk abreast with the whole earth,
Who inaugurate one to inaugurate all.

(Page from Walt Whitman's Notebooks, Library of Congress)

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