After Walt Whitman

After Walt Whitman

The spirit of peace
         large and rich and thrifty
that builds vast and populous cities
         that encourages agriculture
and the arts and commerce
         the balance of freedoms
nothing too close
         nothing too far off
neither the stars too far off

The poet who is a workman
         who concentrates the light
who turns a pivot with his finger
         allows no time to stray
is obedient to his conscience
         who understands how
the processes of life
         grow men and women and children
who talks of the soul of eternity
         as manifest in the rose
and in all creatures
         his thoughts hymns
in praise of things
         equable and egalitarian
expecting and believing
         and trusting in what is good
and upright and firmfibred
         who sees certainties
for what they are
         and beauty for what it is
the preserve of the smile
         and the noble gesture
a beauty beyond the panting
         and sighing of sex
the beauty of fluent truth
in the beauty
         of words that are lashed
to the earth out of which
         all things arise

John Lyons


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