Friday, June 19, 2009

Pentecost +3 – Year B

Did Jesus' followers moan this poem's antecedent as he slept through a ship bucking the wave?
Did the Philistines chant so upon Goliath's fall?
Did Paul see the Corinthians as fallen, needing a revival of the heart?

O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
by Walt Whitman

I.
O CAPTAIN! my captain! our fearful trip is done;
. . . .
     But O heart! heart! heart!
     O the bleeding drops of red!
     Where on the deck my captain lies,
          Fallen cold and dead.

II.
O captain! my captain! rise up and hear the bells;
. . . .
     O Captain! dear father!
     This arm beneath your head;
     It is some dream that on the deck
          You’ve fallen cold and dead.

III.
My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still
. . . .
     Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells!
     But I, with silent tread,
     Walk the spot my captain lies
          Fallen cold and dead.

Upon arising, a word of peace and challenge from Jesus. Would Goliath ever offer such? Paul, too, has his poem seeing more in the Corinthians than they yet see in themselves. Who commissions you to be a "poem"? Is part of your "peace" no master, no God? On the sea of chaos we dream our fears and they melt our realities. Only O Love will float our boat.

TO YOU
by Walt Whitman

WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet
         and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
         troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
         farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking,
         suffering, dying.

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my
         poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than
         you.

O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted
         nothing but you.

I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to your-
         self,
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in
         you,
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never
         consent to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God,
         beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.

. . . .

 

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