Walking With Whitman

There was a Child went forth every day:

And the first object [she] look’d upon, that object [she] became:
And that object became part of her for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

© C. Streetlights All Rights Reserved

These kites set me free
that day on the beach,
taking away the heartache from those past eight months.
gone and
carried off somewhere
(heartache lifted on ribboned tails and crepe paper)

These kites —
even now –
trace the border of my shadow’s horizon

© C. Streetlights All Rights Reserved

[1] Whitman, Walt. “A Child Went Forth,” Leaves of Grass. Philadelphia: David McKay, [c1900]

These shells
drifted in resiliency,
ebbing and flowing
(did they despair in not knowing why?)
until finding rest one on top the other.

just as they existed in the ocean —
of course they were –
(sometimes resting, tumbling
or knowing)

These shells,
even now,
have faith in the motion.

© C. Streetlights All Rights Reserved

This seagull,
in virtuous dignity,
terrified his enemies.
His limp protested the survival of the fittest
(seagulls don’t read Darwin)

while perfect in flight,
his poise disguised his disadvantage
(they dared not take advantage)

limp or fly,
no matter.

This horizon,
is faith’s hold on me,
my hold on faith.
(Catalina Island seen, clear days only)

The beach’s horizon held a mystery,
as a child,
an island (I was told).
Magic I never saw.
(foolish child)

The clouds burned
and I saw it –
the island.
Hidden no longer, I cried.

The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color’d clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Catalina Island ©Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved

C. Streetlights

About C. Streetlights

As a child, C. Streetlights listened to birds pecking at her rooftop, but instead of fearing them, was convinced they would set her free and she’d someday see the stars. Southern California sunshine never gave C. Streetlights the blonde hair or blue eyes she needed to fit in with her high school’s beach girls, her inability to smell like teen spirit kept her from the grunge movement, and she wasn’t peppy enough to cheer. She ebbed and flowed with the tide, not a misfit but not exactly fitting in, either. Streetlights grew up, as people do, earned a few degrees and became a teacher. She spent her days discussing topics like essay writing, Romeo and Juliet, the difference between a paragraph and a sentence, and for God’s sake, please stop eating the glue sticks. She has met many fools, but admires Don Quixote most because he taught her that it didn’t matter that the dragon turned out to be a windmill. What mattered was that he chose to fight the dragon in the first place. Streetlights now lives in the mountains with a husband, two miracle children, and a dog who eats Kleenex. She retired from teaching so she can raise her children to pick up their underwear from the bathroom floor, to write, and to slay windmills and dragons. She is happy to report that she can finally see the stars.

One Comment
  1. Dori Owen

    Dori Owen

    My heart is so heavy reading this…it’s a wondrous (albeit difficult) homage. And I am a Whitman fan girl. How perfect these words fit. So beautiful, Cee, I’m quite teary. xoD.

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