04 July 2009

Independence Day

(Philadelphia, at the Liberty Place Mall)

While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening
to empire
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the
mass hardens,
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots
to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence;
and home to the mother.
You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly
long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
shine, perishing republic. . . .

from Robinson Jeffers, Shine Perishing Republic

(Philadelphia, on the way to the Museum of Art)
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
Book of Judges, 10:14, KJV

(Philadelphia, at the Fairmount Water Works)

These and all else were to me the same as they are to you,
I loved well those cities, loved well the stately and rapid river,
The men and women I saw were all near to me,
Others the same -- others who look back on me because I look'd forward to them,
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)
from Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

1 comment:

vicmarcam said...

I had never read or heard of the first poem before, but I instantly liked it and I looked up more information on it. My guess on when it was written was hilariously off (first guess: about two years ago; second: eve of WWII). I also found out that poetry analysis is not necessarily good. It seems that the poem is far more timeless than the analysis--people who wrote about it after the internet but before Bush II, saw it as a poem very much of its time (1925); one critic wrote about how it was written at the height of the Great Depression (!?!). Thank you for a very interesting post.