3 cheers for the swordless confict

Expressing gratitude we risk platitudes and cliché, but I can’t help myself on this election day.  Voting is a marvelous and wondrous event!  Divisions and partisanship have filled our airwaves, mailboxes, answering machines and possibly our thoughts for months now and I’m wondering, couldn’t we all just hold hands for one minute and sing a Coke commercial or something, maybe sway or cry at the same youtube video or break bread together or fail to notice other people’s bad personal odors or offensive views, just something to remind ourselves that we may be opposition today, but we are enemies never, and countrymen first.

How about a poem to do all that, a Walt Whitman poem (no Levis allowed) to celebrate our “powerfulest scene and show.”

If I get up my nerve I may hand “Election Day” to anyone who shoves a flyer in my face at the polling station.  I’ll report back tomorrow.

Election Day, November, 1884


by Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and
‘Twould not be you, Niagara–nor you, ye limitless prairies–nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite–nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic
geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones–nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes–nor
Mississippi’s stream:
–This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name–the still
small voice vibrating–America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen–the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d–sea-board and inland–
Texas to Maine–the Prairie States–Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West–the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling–(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity–welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
–Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify–while the heart
pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.


One Comment

  1. Barb

    what a great choice for today! “america’s choosing day”…i love that expression! i’m heading off to the poll soon and will hold back my smirk when approached by all the last minute “swords”. may we and our children never take this for granted.

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