Friday, August 29, 2008

America - a Poetry Friday post

Today, I'm particularly proud to be an American. Watching Senator Barack Obama accept the Democratic party's nomination to be their candidate for President of the United States was a moving, historic moment. His speech was pitch-perfect, in my opinion. One of the 29 items (if Keith Oberman is to be believed) that he set forth was "equal pay for equal work" because "I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons." The emphasis on personal responsibility and mutual responsibility, on rebuilding the United States' image and reclaiming its integrity at home and abroad, was truly inspiring, even as it was bolstered with practical and pragmatic expectations. I hope he succeeds in making this into a meaningful election, and not "a big election about small things." (Quotes here are from memory, having listened to the speech last night and again this morning, and may not be verbatim.)

This morning, Senator John McCain, presumptive nominee for the Republican party, selected Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin, as his vice-presidential nominee. She is not the first woman to be selected as a potential vice-president. Walter Mondale had Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, after all. But come November, this country is going to see a major first regardless of which party wins the election.

I selected today's poem out of a renewed sense of patriotism, and hope that our country will eventually be truly a "centre of equal daughters, equal sons".

America
by Walt Whitman

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear'd, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair'd in the adamant of Time.


You can listen to what is believed to be Walt Whitman's voice reading the first four lines of this poem at the Academy of American Poets.

3 comments:

Mary Lee said...

We can hope, but it needs to be a hope mixed with a large measure of work to ensure the country Whitman describes. Especially the "equal daughters, equal sons." Most especially the "perennial earth."

Kelly Fineman said...

I am following that old proverb, quoted by Gore the other night: When you pray, move your feet.

Charlotte said...

Just as long as we don't have to move them to Canada...