Dalmo – Ode to the Good Gray Poet
To write an ode to Whitman is to write in vain.
An ode to camerados, to brothers the same,
Is more of an introduction,
More a tribute to his author function,
Than a set of distorted references,
Fictional, misguided presents,
Given to our collective father --
Whose ego could not be larger --
In deep and sincerest awe
But hopelessly lost in all
The prejudices of the human mind.
The brother of human kind,
Whose soul now may rest in peace,
Whose body remains a piece
Of skin that covers my arms,
Whose voice still resounds alarms
In my head when I am asleep
(At night I count Whitmans and sheep),
Has sung of himself enough,
Drunk dry the entire trough;
Of all his thirsty élèves,
None will ever have
Even a drop of his hurricane.
But isn't that why he came?
Isn't that why he was sent?
To teach me to like my scent,
To show that this nation is me,
That America just longs to be
A tiny fraction of who I am
(Enchanté, I'm Uncle Sam),
Is why the Gray Poet taught
The message his Leaves have brought,
But I can't get myself to believe
The attention I demand to receive
Can be greater than what is his.
My song is a dying fizz:
Though I know I am part of God
And should celebrate what I've got,
My value is hard to see,
Even if Whitman is part of me.
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