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April 2017, vol 13 no 1

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Richard Straw

Sands Near Seventy

Craziness, wastefulness, interminableness, all the inappropriate words that are spoken and quickly forgotten each night on cable news, the buzz of language that has almost died and is dying a "slow death." Better to hear Whitman's tribute to "The Dead Tenor" ("a wafted autumn leaf, dropt in the closing grave, the shovel'd earth") or his self-portrait as "The Dismantled Ship" ("disabled, doneā€¦haul'd up at last and hawser'd tight, lies rusting, mouldering"). So, I prefer to read "Sands at Seventy" and reflect on my conversation with him all these years since I first discovered his book, how it led me to "take to the open road." What lessons can I not learn from him now?

end of a year
my dead father's watch
keeping time still