Thursday, June 23, 2005

"One need never leave"

And right across the way from Whitman, 20th-century poet Frank O'Hara is remembered with lines from his poem "Meditations in an Emergency," with its echo of Whitman's famous volume in the third line here:
One need never leave the / confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes -- I can't / even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there's a subway / handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not / totally regret life.
O'Hara (who died in 1966 at the age of 40 after a freak accident in which he was hit by a dune buggy on Fire Island) wrote one of my all-time favorite poems. It's called "Ave Maria" and it begins: "Mothers of America / let your kids go to the movies ..."

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