February 08, 2008

Poetry Friday: Night, Sleep, Death & Stars

A Clear Midnight, by Walt Whitman
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
                     themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

A rather spare poem for Whitman, but one beautiful in its simplicity.

A chilly, gloomy start to the Lunar New Year, I'm hoping everyone doing lion dances and all are wearing silk thermals beneath their costumes! The ceremonies here in Glasgow are all safely INDOORS. Brrr. More heart-warming if not body-warming poetry can be found with my bud Gina at AmoXcalli.


Anonymous said...

I may have to borrow that opening line when I'm ready to replace the tagline on my blog. :-)

I agree, it's less expansive, more evocative, than what I think of as typical for Whitman. Really beautiful.

Anonymous said...

"Night, Sleep, Death & Stars" is so evocative.

Kinda like that old album by the Godfathers: "Birth, School, Work, Death"

What they have in common: four monosyllabic words that embody much bigger ideas, one of which is death. I like the Whitman's doesn't end with death, but with stars.

jama said...

Lovely poem. Haven't read much that is short by Whitman. A nice surprise.

divatobe said...

I had not read this Whitman poem. What a great Friday poem! "Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done" think I will put away my notes, readings and texts for a bit!

Ruth said...

Really beautiful.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Happy Lunar New Year to you! I've been wanting to re-read Leaves of Grass. If only I had five more hours in my days.

jules, 7-Imp

Sara said...

How did I miss this one?

It kinda makes me want to stay up til midnight just so I can say: "This is thy hour, O Soul" to myself.

Anonymous said...

The themes one lovest best.
Of course. I mean, what else is there?

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Lovely! And just what I needed to hear this morning. I am going to plan for an hour or two of free flight into the wordless. Beautiful picture too! Happy New Year.

Mary Lee said...

I wish I would have read that last night just before falling asleep!

Happy New Year! (I love saying that as many times as possible -- school year, lunar year, solstice, calendar, anniversary...you name it!)