Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman has come to visit me in the Heartland
I look at the beard of my old teacher and friend
like a gray spider web of rain
I look at his boots covered with American mud
                    In two rocking chairs
                    we sit out on the back porch
                    exchanging words
Wherever he looks
                            his gaze
causes the shoot of a poem to grow
Where is your kosmos? I ask him
Where is the Western world one and inseparable?
the democracy? the eternal progress?

Rain drips down from his eyelids
into the constellation of his beard
His shoulders bend
                             under the invisible weight
That's up to you, he says calmly,
I am expecting the main things from you.

* Listen to Cohen reciting the poem *

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