(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

I Met A Man.

Along the road called Life I met a man today,
He asked if I were going his way.
I took a minute and looked him up and down,
Just to ask myself if he were someone I wanted to be around.

His heart was black with sin,
There seemed very little if any goodness within.
The years had etched upon his face,
And you my friend are failure and disgrace.

Now I noticed him looking back into me,
I was not going to be allowed to think my thoughts for free.
He looked at me and read my thought,
He spoke and this is what he taught.

You my son are me and I am you,
Your skin brown or your eyes deepest blue.
Each has choices to make,
And doors with paths to take.

The more I looked upon this ragged old man,
The more I understood this was part of God's plan.
Fair to say a God given plea,
That I see this old man was me.

[RKH] 2/07/2003

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Comments (3)

For I know very well that I and robust love belong among you, inland, and along the Western Sea; For These States tend inland, and toward the Western Sea- and I will also. /////////////////
Since I do not know when this poem was written, I can't place in the context of the so-called MANIFEST DESTINY policy of the United States government and society. Americans today do not appreciate the glaring IMPERIALISM of this national policy which took for granted the USA would become a continental nation. In Europe notions far less grandiose caused years of warfare and contested borders and eventually two World Wars in the 20th century. The USA was spared such violence because the opposition was primarily Native Americans. However much I revere Whitman, I cannot get on this band wagon.
Those of us most powerfully drawn by this impulse have arrived at the very edge of the Western Sea and pile up massively together, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco. Where now, dear Walt?