21 February 2012

"Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"

I believe in bettering oneself. 
I believe that memorizing poetry is an exceptional method for bettering oneself. 
Therefore, I memorize poetry.

     Or so I've begun to. I can't help myself--Whitman, Tennyson, and Keats (always Keats, always) have had my heart lately.
     I don't know what it is about Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry", and in particular, this section below, that gets me so. It must be something to do with the grandiose way Whitman idolizes New York: All boroughs, all citizens, all hills, all towers--not a thing is beyond him to love. Or how, in section 8, he veers away from his proclamations of love for the city to humanly love: 
deep, meaningful, undeniable love. 
Walt Whitman, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" (1856)

Lines 93-100 are what most goad me. If the text is unclear to you, it reads: 

What gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and 
         with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my
         nighest name as I approach? 
What is more subtle than this which ties to me to the woman or
         man that looks in my face? 
Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you?

We understand then, do we not?
What I promis'd without mentioning it, have you not accepted? 
What the study could not teach--what the preaching could
          not accomplish is accomplish'd, is it not? 

Le sigh!

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