Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks in Old Age

From Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" First Annex: Sands at Seventy

Thanks in Old Age

Thanks in old age- thanks ere I go,
For health, the midday sun,the impalpable air-for life, mere life,
For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear-
you, father-you, brothers ,sisters,friends,)
For all my days-not those of peace alone-the days of war
the same,
For gentle words,caresses, gifts from foreign lands,
For shelter,wine and meat-for sweet appreciation,
(You distant,dim unknown-or young or old-countless,
unspecified, readers belov'd,
We never met, and ne'er shall meet-and yet our souls
embrace, long, close and long;)
For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books-for colors,
forms,
For all the brave strong men-devoted hardy men-who've
forward sprung in freedom's help,all years, all lands,
For braver,stronger, more devoted men-(a special laurel ere
I go, to life's war's chosen ones,
The cannoneers of song and thought-the great artillerists-the
fore most leaders, captains of the soul:)
As soldier from an ended war return'd-As traveler out of
myriads, to the long procession retrospective,
Thanks-joyful thanks!-a soldier's, traveler's thanks.

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