Subject: A New Kind of Poet
From: Christopher W. Thomas (
Date: Mon May 31, 1999 at 7:17PM

A New Kind of Poet

On this day in eighteen hundred nineteen
Walt Whitman first arrived on the scene
Born to a carpenter - the second of nine
It'd be a while before he wrote his rhyme

Apprenticed as a printer after finishing school
He turned to teaching, abandoning printing tools
Then he was the editor of Huntington's paper
The Long Islander was for two years his creation

And then he gave it up and returned to the city
Where he edited the Brooklyn Eagle (also pithy)
For his anti-slavery beliefs and political leanings
Lost him that one, too ... so he packed in teaming

And for the next several years - built some houses
Until his need to write took over, and he espouses
His political views in many editions of his new work
... Leaves of Grass - would become Whitman's shirt

Changing it frequently over the next forty-odd years
As he released updated versions, including tears ...
Shed ... for the assassination of President Lincoln
And many works which'd become esteemed, too

Including O Captain, My Captain - for the fallen man
Passage to India - a highly-symbolic and spirited plan
To unite East and West through communications ...
(A premonition of the future interleaving of nations)

And evolving into the essays of Democratic Vistas ...
Which outlines the theory (possibilities administered)
His works have now been compiled into book sets
One with sixteen volumes, another with five, to whet

... The appetites of minds hungry for more Walt ...
Perhaps, the foremost American poet to exalt ...
For, although his works typified nineteenth century thought ...
His way with words is an experience which cannot be bought ...

- Tristram

Christopher W. Thomas
3:45pm Memorial Day '99