The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Gettysburg Battlefield

Election Day, November, 1884
By Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
'Twould not be you, Niagara--nor you, ye limitless prairies--nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite--nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon's white cones--nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes--nor Mississippi's stream:
--This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name--the still small voice vibrating--America's choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen--the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous'd--sea-board and inland--Texas to Maine--the Prairie States--Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West--the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling--(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity--welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
--Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify--while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.


Pardon my distraction, I'm still following local Virginia elections and the attorney general's office looks like it may come down to absentee ballots because at the moment there are only a few hundred votes separating the candidates. For the most part, it's been a good evening and I don't just mean because I had one more Almond Joy left over from Halloween. De Blasio won in New York. McAuliffe and Northam won in Virginia (yes I know he's a sleazebag but look at the alternative). Christie won in New Jersey, which several people I know in New Jersey are not happy about, but Christie doesn't scare me nearly as much as Cuccinelli. And Illinois celebrated Election Day by legalizing gay marriage. Do I thank the Tea Party for wrecking the GOP or hope for a sane two-party system to return?

Maryland's elections were for mayors of cities in which I don't live, though Takoma Park has voted to let 16-year-olds vote in municipal elections, which is great. It was another magnificent autumn day and I had chores to do on Rockville Pike; when I mentioned this to my father, he offered to take me to lunch, so we went to Ambrosia, from which I walked to AC Moore; then I checked World Market to see if they had replacement Bonfire Night desserts for the burnt parkin cake (Paul made gingerbread instead) and stopped at Ulta for shampoo. We watched Agents of SHIELD, which -- already, really, that gimmick? -- and caught up on Sleepy Hollow, which I like so much better, even in flashback. Here are some Gettysburg pics that I didn't have time to edit:

The view from atop the observation tower...

...and the tower itself.

West Point cadets at the visitor center.

The Irish Brigade's beautiful Celtic cross monument is my favorite.

A statue of General Warren, who died in the battle, in the spot on Little Round Top from which he observed Confederate movements.

The prominent Pennsylvania and New York monuments atop Little Round Top.

A cannon marking the Confederate line near the North Carolina monument.

Visitors ride by one of the farms scattered around and through the battlefield.

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