bird poops on plum branch

buster


Buster Benson

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bird poops on plum branch
buster
Here's a version of part of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" where I replaced all references of grass with worms:

A child said, What are these worms? fetching them to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what they are, any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful pink stuff woven.

Or I guess they are the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer, designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say, Whose?

Or I guess the worms are themselves a child, the produced babe of the vegetation.

Or I guess they are a uniform hieroglyphic;
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white;
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.

And now they seem to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you, curling worms;
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men;
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people, and from women, and from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’ laps;
And here you are the mothers’ laps.
 
These worms are very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers;
Darker than the colorless beards of old men;
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues!
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.
 
I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?
 
They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death;
And if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward—nothing collapses;
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

Read the original here:
http://oldpoetry.com/poetry/16461

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These worms are very dark

Ha ha ha, you are right. It's much better.

Re: These worms are very dark

Yeah, isn't it? Walt was such an optimistic pansy.

hey, did i ever give you back your theodore roethke book? i can't find it now :(

I don't know... I sold almost all of the books I had last April (hopefully I'm not supposed to return one of your books). If you do still have it you can (or rather, must) keep it.

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