Searching Out Walt Whitman

I am searching you out, Walt Whitman,
for I've lost all confidence.
If you were here, could you find
the same hope in Camden, New Jersey?
A pulsing red light warns
jet after jet; the bridge, like a dinosaur's back,
casts dark shadows on the water.
On a night when any poor schmuck
could do violence to himself,
Walt Whitman, your voice is a light glowing against the rocks
where love and desire slap themselves silly.

 

Advertisement

Are you walking the streets tonight,
muttering to yourself under the cold night sky,
where like some ancient Buddha
you know how to turn the stars
back to wonder? I know your ghost
still drifts like a dirty angel through this town.
We need you again, Walt Whitman, your voice
rising like smoke after a war,
your wild beard headed down to the river, maybe,
a whole continent held gently under one arm.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
More: Poems / Poetry

The latest from america

Light streams into St. Gabriel’s Passionist Parish in Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Larkin Architect Limited)
The daily light show at St. Gabriel's in Toronto is not just aesthetically moving, writes Dean Dettloff. It is part of a church design that reminds us of human dependence on the earth.
Dean DettloffAugust 23, 2019
“The Church is a family of families,” Pope Francis writes in “Amoris Laetitia.”
Kerry WeberAugust 23, 2019
Our commitment to God is expressed through living out the gospel, but also in your fidelity to prayer. Day in and day out. “Showing up and shutting up,” as my friend likes to say about daily prayer.
James Martin, S.J.August 23, 2019
In this Aug. 20, 2019 drone photo released by the Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso, brush fires burn in Guaranta do Norte municipality, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. (Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso via AP)
A record number of wildfires and the rapid deforestation of the Amazon are prompting Latin American bishops to plead for international action, writes America’s correspondent in Brazil, Eduardo Campos Lima.
Eduardo Campos LimaAugust 23, 2019