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February 04, 2009


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It is striking, now you've brought it up, how transcendent Whitman's language is at the end, how apophatic; transcendent in a negative way, for it rises not above but falls into deeper appreciation for what is, such that the mystery is so apprehended that one may SEEM indifferent but truly satiated by that which is unknown and unknowable -- the answer to the question, "Why is there something and not nothing?"

Hi Ron George! Fancy meeting you here. I agree. Though the physicists now have an answer for the part at the end: something is easier than nothing. thanks for commenting!

someone in a review of one of my books teased me about my exclamation points. so now I can't help but censor them but in a comment box i think i'll permit myself to go crazy!


Thank you for sharing this, Jennifer. So here is my growing concern with the poem- the last line. COMPLETELY satisfy me. What?! After all of that preamble! Am I missing something? Is this the ultimate suspension of disbelief? Oh yes, that must be it... that 'faith' thing that I have such a hard time with.

BTW, if you have not already, you should write an ode to the exclamation point. Wouldn't that be fun?

Writer's Almanac has moved on to the next day's poem (2/5), so the link you posted leads to a differnt poem now. The Whitman poem can still be found here:

For me, the second half of the poem serves to reinforce the first half. The mere act of holding hands has the power to totally change his attitude toward the world, thereby calling into question the constancy of the world.

I also can't picture him in that contented state forever. The hands touch, the oxytocin kicks in giving rise to an hour of blissful connectedness ... until, excuse me, I gotta take a leak. Hey, I'm kind of hungry, maybe we should think about what to have for lunch.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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