I interrupt my previously announced plans to recycle my own content to recycle content heard yesterday evening (November 12) on the MPR/Keillor ‘Writer’s Almanac.’

There I was, minding my own business, when all my hair stood on end. Damn, that gay old man could write.


The little one sleeps in its cradle,
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away
      flies with my hand.

The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy
I peeringly view them from the top.

The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the
      pistol has fallen.

The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk
      of the promenaders,
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb,
      the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous’d mobs,
The flap of the curtain’d litter, a sick man inside borne to
      the hospital,
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,
The excited crowd, the police man with his star quickly
      working his passage to the center of the crowd,
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,
What groans of over-fed or half-starv’d who fall sunstruck or
      in fits,
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry
      home and give birth to babes,
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what
      howls restrain’d by decorum,
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made,
      acceptances, rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show and resonance of them-I come
      and I depart.

The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack’d to the sagging mow.

I am there, I help, I came stretch’d atop of the load,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.

— Walt Whitman, excerpted from Song of Myself