Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," website of an unrepentant Bard! Writing, singing, storytelling ... I love them all. The singing could use some work, but at least I can carry a tune.
On the 190th anniversary of Walt Whitman's death last May, I went to a little celebration held beside his tomb in Harleigh Cemetery, Camden, NJ. As part of the celebration, each person there had to say something about why they were there, i.e., what part Walt Whitman played in their lives.
When my turn came to speak, I said that I loved Whitman's poem, "Miracles." Then and there I vowed to memorize it by the end of the summer.
At which point my friend the Monkey Man, who had organized the event, handed me his well-worn "Complete Walt Whitman" and bid me read "Miracles" to the assembled.
As I read the poem it occurred to me that the thing was longer than I thought. A sweat broke out on my neck. I take vows seriously, and suddenly this looked like a whopper of a chore to fulfill.
I've done it.
The more I recite it, the more I love it. This poem will give your big, broad, flexible outlook a real boost.
When I went to visit the family farm a few weeks ago and walked its hillsides realizing I might rarely pass that way again, it was Whitman's words that soothed me. I may be stuck in Camden, but I'm stuck in Camden with Walt. This is no small consolation prize.
And now, completely from memory:
by Walt Whitman
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles.
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of the houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with anyone I love, or sleep in the bed at night with anyone I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me, riding in the car,
Or watch honeybees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or the stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring.
These and the rest, one and all, are to me miracles.
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle.
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
The sea itself is to me a continual miracle.
The fishes that swim, the rocks, the motion of the waves, the ships with men in them,
What greater miracles are there?
(I know there are other versions of this poem. Whitman re-wrote his stuff regularly. I got this version off the internet, so if there's something missing, let me know. However, if I've stiffed a whole 20-line stanza, don't burst my bubble by telling me. I couldn't face that right now.)
May every hour of the light and dark become a miracle for you, my friend.
THE BARD OF BERKELEY SPRINGS