A Poem for Flag Day
Contributed by Walter McClennen
Of Walt Whitman and his time:
In 1855, America was reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and feeling the first strong fires of the coming Civil War as struggles broke out in Kansas and Nebraska. In Brooklyn, Walt Whitman published his masterpiece first volume, Leaves of Grass. One short, eleven line piece, in that work was entitled, “I Hear America Singing.” It spoke of a positive nation rising due to the efforts of the common people of the land. Through the past eight months, we also have felt deep national trauma – politics – pandemic – economic collapse. Yet out my window, I see in our town the common people that Whitman saw. Abundant and productive life goes on down my street and around the block and into the town center. Even houses are built against all odds. So I strive to chant today as Whitman might have chanted if he were in our small American town this year. Whitman knew how to sing for his country even through a time of tears.
(With apologies to Walt Whitman for attempting to channel his wisdom and his song…..)
(The reader is urged to search on line, “I Hear America Singing – Whitman poem text” to enjoy the real poet who served us so well 165 years ago.)
©Walter McClennen, 2020
(Walter McClennen lives and writes small histories in Mudville.)