Walt Whitman is omnipotent.

missvirginia on Nov 6th 2009

So yesterday, as I’m waiting at that huge four way intersection at Cowan Blvd. and Carl D. Silver Pkwy in Central Park, I’m looking all around, bored. I love watching the other drivers, too. People watching, in any capacity, is fascinating and hilarious. However, as I’m observing, I look up to see a somewhat gross, dirty looking man staring down at me, probably at my chest, and I immediately turn my head. Disgusted, I refuse to make eye-contact and so when I see his large 18-wheeler pull away, I turn back to watch it amble on. I look up at the smoke stacks and at that second I see the pitchy black smoke come in front of my view of some birds flying in beautiful formation, probably south for the winter.

This juxtaposition, this almost Venn-diagram like situation, immediately made me think of Whitman. As the black smoke dissipated, I could see the birds still flying. I started thinking if he imagined this hustly-bustly, always moving, never stopping to “take the path less traveled” kind of world. I can’t help think that he didn’t. Those traveling birds are probably one of the few things that Whitman would recognize in this day. They are one of the ONLY things in this world that we can look at and know that Emily Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, the slave in the fields…they all saw that long trek the geese make.

The world has become a different place. What would Walt think of this forum we are using to communicate with three other schools? Just like the smoke creating a haze through which I could barely see the geese, as long as we keep the focus on Whitman, keep the focus on academic analysis, and realizing Whitman as not just a poet but a person who we can all relate to we will succeed in traveling south like the those constant geese. We are simply seeking the warmth that Whitman can bring to our souls, not the southern sun.

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