Sunday, January 10, 2016

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Click to enlarge. 
I saw this ring-billed gull at the East River today during a break in the rain. That's the Brooklyn Bridge in soft focus in the background. As I stood there, Walt Whitman came into my mind and I pictured him, as he had written, watching the gulls and the river 150 years ago. When I got home I reread the poem he wrote about it: Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. The ferry used to cross where the Brooklyn Bridge now stands.

Here are two excerpts and a link to Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman,

"I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refreshed…"

'I too many and many a time cross’d the river of old,
Watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls, saw them high in the air floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
Saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies and left the rest in strong shadow,
Saw the slow-wheeling circles and the gradual edging toward the south…'

Click here to read the entire poem on the Poetry Foundation's website.

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