Dose of Beauty: October 24, 2011

Inspired by my trip to the Far Hills Steeplechase.

Bivouac on a Mountain Side
By WALT WHITMAN
far Hills Steeplechase

I SEE before me now, a traveling army halting;
Below, a fertile valley spread, with barns, and the orchards of summer;
Behind, the terraced sides of a mountain, abrupt in places, rising high;
Broken, with rocks, with clinging cedars, with tall shapes, dingily seen;
The numerous camp-fires scatter’d near and far, some away up on the mountain;
The shadowy forms of men and horses, looming, large-sized flickering;
And over all, the sky—the sky! far, far out of reach, studded, breaking out, the
eternal
stars.
Dose of Beauty Archives

Pin It

Daily Dose of Beauty: July 28, 2011

The boys and I spent the afternoon yesterday hiking and playing in a river that runs through the state park. We read the following poem by Walt Whitman and were successful in finding a few “heart-shaped leaves” of our own. I wish July would never end….

A July Afternoon By The Pond

The fervent heat, but so much more endurable in this pure air—the white and pink pond-blossoms, with great heart-shaped leaves; the glassy waters of the creek, the banks, with dense bushery, and the picturesque beeches and shade and turf; the tremulous, reedy call of some bird from recesses, breaking the warm, indolent, half-voluptuous silence; an occasional wasp, hornet, honey-bee or bumble (they hover near my hands or face, yet annoy me not, nor I them, as they appear to examine, find nothing, and away they go)—the vast space of the sky overhead so clear, and the buzzard up there sailing his slow whirl in majestic spirals and discs; just over the surface of the pond, two large slate-color’d dragon-flies, with wings of lace, circling and darting and occasionally balancing themselves quite still, their wings quivering all time, (are they not showing off for my amusement?)—the pond itself, with the sword-shaped calamus; the water snakes—occasionally a flitting blackbird, with red dabs on his shoulders, as he darts slantingly by—the sounds that bring out the solitude, warmth, light and shade—the quawk of some pond duck—(the crickets and grasshoppers are mute in the noon heat, but I hear the song of the first cicades;)—then at some distance the rattle and whirr of a reaping machine as the horses draw it on a rapid walk through a rye field on the opposite side of the creek—(what was the yellow or light brown bird, large as a young hen, with short neck and long-stretch’d legs I just saw, in flapping and awkward flight over there through the trees?)—the prevailing delicate, yet palpable, spicy, grassy, clovery perfume to my nostrils; and over all, encircling all, to my sight and soul, and free space of the sky, transparent and blue—and hovering there in the west, a mass of white-gray fleecy clouds the sailors call “shoals of mackerel”—the sky, with silver swirls like locks of toss’d hair, spreading, expanding—a vast voiceless, formless simulacrum—yet may-be the most real reality and formulator of everything—who knows?

- Walt Whitman

20110728-104831.jpg