Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sailors Kissing

Courtesy of Indiana University
Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

60. What think You I take my Pen in Hand?

WHAT think you I take my pen in hand to record?
The battle-ship, perfect-model’d, majestic, that I saw pass the offing to-day under full sail?
The splendors of the past day? Or the splendor of the night that envelopes me?
Or the vaunted glory and growth of the great city spread around me?—No;
But I record of two simple men I saw to-day, on the pier, in the midst of the crowd, parting the parting of dear friends;
The one to remain hung on the other’s neck, and passionately kiss’d him,
While the one to depart, tightly prest the one to remain in his arms.

An excerpt from this poem is featured in my post for tomorrow, so stay tuned.


daemon said...

Stunning. As a sailor, this resonates within. Those farewells are always soul rending but make the home welcomes in port so incredible. I look forward to more words from yourself tomorrow.


RFX said...

I LOVE pics like this! Sure wish I could have done this(OPENLY and in UNIFORM!) when I was in the Navy - only a mere decade ago!

Anonymous said...

A teenager whose blog I follow just enlisted in the Navy. As openly gay. Just think, only a few months ago he would have had to hide who he was. What great progress we're making!

Peace <3

Dean said...

What a beautiful, concise poem! This is Whitman at his finest.

Unknown said...

Did you see the original--more revealing--image at the Kinsey Institute Gallery? A crop of this image was also used by the artist group Gran Fury in the late 80s for an ACT-UP poster.