Friday, April 4, 2008
Wild on Whitman
Since I don't intend to only post poetic excerpts from Brooklyn (or Brooklyn connected) poets, I figure I'd better get some Walt Whitman in here before my head flits on to other, less revered authors. Whitman lived in Brooklyn early on, and then he returned in the mid 1800's. As most of you probably know, a line from "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" is used to decorate the fencing at Fulton Ferry Landing. So all those people who get their wedding photos taken there probably have a tiny piece of Whitman in their treasured memories.
There is a pretty decent, albeit condensed, bio of Whitman here. And if you want to read ALL of "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," you can check it out here.
This excerpt is the seventh section of the poem. It's a haunting section because of the narrator's direct address to the reader. It's almost a ghostly breather from the rest of the poem. Poets.org has a great reading of the poem; it's a lot better than I could render since I just focus on his imagery and diction.
from "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"
Closer yet I approach you,
What thought you have of me now, I had as much of you --
I laid in my stores in advance,
I consider'd long and seriously of you before you were born.
Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?
Who knows, for all the distance, but I am as good as looking
at you now, for all you cannot see me?