Friday, March 28, 2008

Whitman's later poems

They became so pithy and rounded of corners. Old age seemed to sit gracefully but briefly in his work. Lines became shorter, rhythms more compressed. I read this today and wondered if my old age would reach such a light-filled vision:

Old Age's Lambent Peaks

The touch of flame--the illuminating fire--the loftiest look at last,
O'er city, passion, sea--o'er prairie, mountain, wood--the earth itself,
The airy, different, changing hues of all, in failing twilight,
Objects and groups, bearings, faces, reminiscences;
The calmer sight--the golden setting, clear and broad:
So much i' the atmosphere, the points of view, the situations whence
we scan,
Bro't out by them alone--so much (perhaps the best) unreck'd before;
The lights indeed from them--old age's lambent peaks.

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