Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quote of the Week

To put a coda on National Poetry Month, here is one of my favorite passages of all time. Literary scholars think that Whitman disguised his homosexual desire by writing in the form of a woman. As an aside, I probably should have never read this passage aloud to my mother.

From Leaves of Grass

Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.

She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.

Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.

Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.

Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.

The beards of the young men glisten'd with wet, it ran from their
long hair,

Little streams pass'd all over their bodies.
An unseen hand also pass'd over their bodies,
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.
The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to
the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,

They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bend-
ing arch,

They do not think whom they souse with spray.

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