Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Choosing Day ~ The Hour is Real

Taking His Time!
~ Great Grandfather Benjamin Franklin Relaxing ~
Whimsical statue on the campus of
The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Those Elders of the Great Tradition & the Rest of Us
It's as if they dreamed their knowledge
and what they dreamed is what we know.
Who can blame them? They could hardly
have believed this sequel to themselves,
that all their wisdom is really happening.

Yet how can we endure these great grandfathers
of the best we know, who still must sit on every
of our thought, who interrupt
our counsels with their wise irrelevancies?
They take their time too, having at their leisure
all history while for us the hour is real.
[emphasis added]

Notre Dame Professor and Poet
Ernest Sandeen (1908 - 1997)
from the Collected Poems

~ More Great Grandfathers ~
Sitting on Every Committee!
Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, Lincoln
Mount Rushmore, Keystone, South Dakota

Election Day, November 1884
If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
’Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi’s stream:

—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still small voice vibrating — America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen — the act itself the main, the quadrennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d-sea-board and inland-Texas to Maine — the Prairie States — Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West — the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling — (a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

— Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.
[emphasis added]

Renowned American Poet
Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)
from Leaves of Grass (first published in 1891 - 92 edition)

The Countless Snow - Flakes Falling!
[well, actually, countable!]

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