Ar an lá seo Márta 26

Ar an lá seo Márta 26, 1892, cailleadh Walt Whitman.

Dán ómóis dó scríofa ag Cathal Ó Searcaigh, mórfhile ag caint le mórfhile. Is féidir an bundán éachtach a léamh sa leabhar An tAm Marfach ina Mairimid (Arlen House 2010):

To Walt Whitman

for Adil Aouji

As usual, Walt, here I am reading your litany of joy as the grass makes an appearance in Mín a’ Leá.
A shower of rain spurting growth, your words bring the hues and urgency of spring flowing through my imagination.
I can hear your gentle laughter behind the words as I utter your love poems. You need but beckon: what I wouldn’t give to be in your arms. I’m not saying we are blood relations, but we are linked by craft and by leanings.
Brother, give me your hand, tramp of the road, and we will take words on a walk, with an agile leap of the mind, let’s take the air, you take the high road and I’ll take the low road and the poem between us.
Brother give me your hand. We’ll roam over the vast range of your contemplation and cross the mighty flood of your thought. Out there in the sunny booley of your hope, we’ll stretch our limbs awhile in comfort. Let’s take the luscious juices from the sun.
Out there in the purple evening of the hills, dear one, we’ll discover the America of our desires.


Poet of vision, poet of prophecy, green omniscient poet, your campfire illumines eternity.
Poetry for you had no boundaries. You were drawn to immensity.
You beheld the spirit’s playful spume in oceans, the spill of a boy’s seed on starstruck autumn nights.
Beloved god that needed no theology.
Poet of homage. Poet of streaming expansiveness. You honoured the great-hearted order of the cosmos. You could feel the living pulse that nurtured the blade of grass, that conducted the cycle of the spheres. Nothing was too big or too small for your canticle of creation.
You were at home in each limb of the dancing universe.
Your imagination took a seven-league leap from one world to the next. Your poem made safe the path to the abyss.
Your book is as humble as ditch grass, as ambitious as the swell of the sea.
It is my scripture of delight, gospel of joy, full-throated choir, book of wisdom.


Your company lifts my heart, Walt, as I run the gauntlet, as blows are struck. The mills of life grind rough and smooth.
Nor was your own life a bed of roses. You had your detractors in their hundreds. And like myself, the love of young men brought you down.
They bad-mouthed you, the evil-hearted ones, proclaiming your poems – your poems exuding grace – were nothing but line after line of vice and temptation.
But you never betrayed your own word. You, the kind-hearted one who couldn’t harm a midge, you gave it to them well and good in words of poetry. The wild scream that challenged them in hymns of love. The love that could not speak its name uttered itself in fountains of grace.
Poet all-powerful, caress me now in the sacred bosom of your words.
Protect me from evil detractors, the pigeon-hearted and the righteous, the scary whited sepulchures.
Protect me, Walt, from the gang that tried to take your name away from you. They and their kin are still creating mischief.
Free me from the daughters of treachery and the sons of trickery whose perverted ways have coated my tongue with their scum so that it is hard for me now to raise my voice in the bardic company where I belong.
Give me your gift, Walt, to give every word its true weight, and may every verb strike home so that the barkings of  malefactors are rammed back down their throats.


I am reading your litany of delight as grass peeps out in Mín ’a Leá and you, brother, buried in Camden.
But your poem is hale and hearty, voice of spring rising in the green leaves of your humanity.
The world is full of exasperation and malice, and warring factions fill the earth and skies. Factions of faith, tribes of terror!
You saw more than enough of battle gore, Walt, as you nursed soldiers in their final throes, in the bloody years of civil war.
You were reminded, more than ever, as you carried out the corporal works of mercy, that our lot was useless unless we showed what it is to be good neighbours with everyone from Brooklyn to Ballybuddy.
A world of exasperation and malice, Walt, but inspired by your poem I look to the peeping grass; tender grass of brotherhood; rough grass of prophecy; ditch grass of integrity; fragrant grass of truth.
I read your litany of delight, a bad moon on the rise, the bones of the old world have become stale, a new age of misery about to be born. And yet, Walt, lovable brother, you forged a fire that brightens my life tonight. Even now, its glow is palpable.
Your book is the green sod on which I stand alone.