The great unrest of which we are part

whitman house
Whitman’s birthplace

The great unrest of which we are part

My thoughts went floating
           on vast and mystic currents
as I sat today in solitude
           in the half-shade by the creek
returning mainly
           to two principal centres

One of my cherished themes
           for a never-finished poem
has been the two impetuses
           of man
and the universe
           —in the latter
creation’s incessant unrest
           exfoliation or
what Darwin termed evolution
           : indeed, what is Nature
but change in all its visible
           and still more
its invisible processes
           and what is humanity
in its faith its love
           its heroism its poetry
even in its morals
           but emotion ?

Walt Whitman


Adapted from Specimen Days (1882) by John Lyons. Happy Thanksgiving in the bicentennial of the great American poet’s birth on 31 May 1819!

A few words of thanks

A few words of thanks

To speak of blood
           of the breath
of the warm flesh that moves
           to secure what it desires

To speak of the air
           and the light
that streams down
           into the roots of all things

To speak of early mornings
           and all the hope
that they offer
           to take new steps
and to make a success
           of the day

To speak of love
           and to know it
and to live it
           and to want it
above all things
           the tendered hand
the tendered lips
           the body open
to your body
           the common will
the bond sealed
           with a kiss

John Lyons