Beard of Action: Walter “Walt” Whitman

As a medical volunteer during the American Civil War, a school teacher and one of America’s most celebrated poets, Whitman’s pursuit of public lives was rivaled only by his much storied pursuit of private life.  Without question, his was a beard that saw through the surface of humanity, into the clandestine crux of culture and spirituality.  Thus we present this Beard of Action’s When I Heard the Learn’d Astromoner:

When I heard the learned astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

[Please excuse the line breaks]

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