Monday, February 02, 2009

Poem for the Fourth Annual Brigid Poetry Reading

In honor of Brigid, Goddess of Poetry and Healing, this year my contribution is a poem written in 1860 by one of my favorite American mystics, Walt Whitman.

Follow the links in the comments section of this post and the original invitation to the great web of poetry that is being spun today.


by Walt Whitman

Were you looking to be held together by the lawyers?
By an agreement on a paper? Or by arms?

I arrive, bringing these, beyond all the forces of courts and arms,
These! to hold you together as firmly as the earth itself is held together.

The old breath of life, ever new,

Here! I pass it by contact to you, America.

O mother! have you done much for me?
Behold, there shall from me be much done for you.

There shall from me be a new friendship—It shall be called after my name,
It shall circulate through The States, indifferent of place,

It shall twist and intertwist them through and around each other—
Compact shall they
be, showing new signs,
Affection shall solve every one of the problems of freedom,
Those who love each other shall be invincible,
They shall finally make America completely victorious, in my name.

One from Massachusetts shall be comrade to a Missourian,
One from Maine or Vermont, and a Carolinian and an Oregonese, shall be friends triune,
more precious to each other than all the riches of the earth.

To Michigan shall be wafted perfume from Florida,

To the Mannahatta from Cuba or Mexico,
Not the perfume of flowers, but sweeter, and wafted beyond death.

No danger shall balk Columbia’s lovers,
If need be, a thousand shall sternly immolate themselves for one,
The Kanuck shall be willing to lay down his life for the Kansian, and the Kansian for the
Kanuck, on due need.

It shall be customary in all directions, in the houses and streets, to see manly affection,
The departing brother or friend shall salute the remaining brother or friend with a kiss.

There shall be innovations,
There shall be countless linked hands—namely, the Northeasterner’s, and the
Northwesterner’s, and the Southwesterner’s, and those of the interior, and all their brood,
These shall be masters of the world under a new power,
They shall laugh to scorn the attacks of all the remainder of the world.

The most dauntless and rude shall touch face to face lightly,
The dependence of Liberty shall be lovers,
The continuance of Equality shall be comrades.

These shall tie and band stronger than hoops of iron,

I, extatic, O partners! O lands! henceforth with the love of lovers tie you.


Ambermoggie, a fragrant soul said...

I've posted mine also. Happy Imbolc

Hecate said...

I can never limit myself to just one. I'll be posting poems throughout the day, starting with this one.

rhino writer said...

Love this idea. I've posted mine.

teabird said...

I love this event - please visit me to read Lucie Brock-Broido...

Anonymous said...

Bless the Bees!
Bless the Bears!
Bless the Cherry Trees!

I have posted my declaration!

And bless you my dear fere.

Anonymous said...

Great choice! Here's one of mine (I have two blogs):

Anonymous said...

And here's the other:

Susan said...

My blogs have come and gone but one thing is consistent ... my fourth annual posting!

Simply Susan

Reya Mellicker said...

And one for you, Oak:


Death comes to me again, a girl
in a cotton slip, barefoot, giggling.

It's not so terrible she tells me,
not like you think, all darkness
and silence.
There are windchimes and the smell of lemons,
some days it rains, but more often the air is dry and sweet.
I sit beneath the staircase built from hair and bone and listen to the voices of the living.
I like it,she says, shaking the dust from her hair, especially when they fight, and when they sing.

--Dorianne Laux

Chris said...

I've posted mine, too.

Dj Connell said...

My poem is up. It is titled "Festival of Trees"

Blessed Imbolc to you and yours,


Anonymous said...

Two poems for the Poetry Slam:

Unknown said...

Poem is posted at

Blessed Bridget

knittingwoman said...

I posted one too. I love this and look forward to it, makes imbolc even more special IMO.

'Zann said...

Mine's posted! Bright blessings to all.

Heather said...

I've posted a poem for Imbolc on my blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Oak!!! Imbolc blessings to you.

Here's my offering, entitled "Stoking the Four Fires"

Medusa said...

My Brigid poem, Labyrinth Dance, is posted on

7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

I just posted mine

Jo C. said...

A binding spell of change, innovation and affection for the nation! YAY!
Mine is up too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love this day! And I completely forgot. I've posted mine, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's poems over the next few days.

Anonymous said...

My poem is by Anne Sexton!

Paula said...

Sigh... I love Walt Whitman!
I loved the poems here today!

Unknown said...

Living half way across the world veiled in heavy snow and ice, I have just logged on and am about to feast on poetry. Thank you all. I posted mine a couple of days ago and another two the next day and may well be posting more thoughout the moon of Bríd.

Johanna-Hypatia said...

I wrote a beautiful erotic poem for my sweetie about how it feels to make love with her. I asked her if it was OK with her to post it for Brigid. She said it was too personal to post in public...

I quoted back to her lines by Sulpicia, the only ancient Roman woman poet whose name is known:

Tandem venit amor qualem texisse pudori
Quam nudasse alicui sit mihi fama magis.

At last love has come, of such quality that to cover it would be more shameful than to lay it bare.

So anyway, in its stead I posted a poem by Audre Lorde over at the Gynaeceum.

wrtrmaus said...

I've posted one as well. I love this tradition.

Sharon said...

Mine is here.

Robert said...

Here's mine, posted at my greenmanmojo blog.

It's dedicated to Brigid and to the intimate mingling of writer and muse.

I imagine it being sung by Donovan. Or Tom Waits.

Katie said...

I posted as well, here.

hekate rockthorn said...

Posted mine :) Got married yesterday, and used the same poem we had in our ceremony.

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