Saturday, December 19, 2020

Walt Whitman, Brazil and A Christmas Greeting

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
From a Northern Star-Group to a Southern. 1889-'90.

Welcome, Brazilian brother — thy ample place is ready;
A loving hand — a smile from the north — a sunny instant hail!
(Let the future care for itself, where it reveals its troubles, impedimentas,
Ours, ours the present throe, the democratic aim, the acceptance
and the faith;)To thee today our reaching arm, our turning neck — to thee
from us the expectant eye,
Thou cluster free! thou brilliant lustrous one! thou, learning well,
The true lesson of a nation's light in the sky,
(More shining than the Cross, more than the Crown,)
The height to be superb humanity.

— Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) wrote A Christmas Greeting in celebration of Brazil becoming a republic. He sent the poem to Harper's Weekly on Dec 19, 1889 for publication. It was rejected. 

A Christmas Greeting would first see the light of day in Whitman's seminal collection of poetry, Leaves of Grass, first published months before his death in 1891.

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