Weekly Whitman: “To a Historian”

A year has passed since I began this column, and it has been an interesting one for me. Being in the hospital was the only thing that interfered with “Weekly Walt.” When I found the poem below, I knew I had to use it for the end—or near-end—of this attempt on my part to put “that guy,” who is so often quoted in books about the Civil War, into perspective. Next week there will be an Index of WW posts, in case you’d like to revisit one or two, and after that I think I will try to give him his own, short book—although there are plenty of others out there. Thank you for reading.

 To a Historian

You who celebrate bygones!
Who have explored the outward, the surfaces of the
races—the life that has exhibited itself;
Who have treated of man as the creature of politics,
aggregates, rulers and priests;
I, habitué of the Alleghanies, treating man as he is in
himself, in his own rights,
Pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited itself, (the great pride of man in himself;)
Chanter of Personality, outlining what is yet to be,
I project the history of the future.

Some of the ECW historians


4 Responses to Weekly Whitman: “To a Historian”

  1. I, for one, will miss your Whitman columns. He is one of my favorite poets and I love the variety of poems you found to celebrate. Did you run out of Whitman topics or run out of enthusiasm?

    1. Neither one–I now have to focus on the book. Versions of chapters will appear here regularly. Thanks so much for your love for the great, gray poet.

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: