Sunday, August 7, 2011

* Lincoln's Best Poem

Pre-Presidential Photo (before 1861)
Fred Kaplan in Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer "rearrange[s] typographically"  a paragraph from a Lincoln pre-presidential essay to reveal  (with an opening line premonitory of  or echoing * the 1855 poems of Walt  Whitman )"a free-verse poem of sophisticated triadic phrases, alliteration and assonance, and a delayed climactic phrase that remembers the first sentence, providing both recognition and unity . . . It is Lincoln's best poem." (kindle 5069+):

Every blade of grass
is a study;
And to produce two,
Where there was
but one,
Is both a profit 
and a pleasure.
And not grass alone;
But soils, seeds, and
Hedges, ditches, 
and fences,
Draining, droughts,
and irrigation --
Plowing, hoeing,
and harrowing --
Reaping, mowing,
and threshing --
Saving crops, pests
of crops, diseases of
And what will
prevent or cure
them --
utensils, and
Their relative
And [how] to 
improve them --
Hogs, horses, and
Sheep, goats, and
poultry --
trees, shrubs,
fruits, plants, and
flowers --
The thousand
Of which these are
specimens --
Each a world of 
study within itself.

A. Lincoln
Paragraph from Wisconsin State Agriculture Fair speech, 1859
 (rearranged as a poem by biographer Fred Kaplan)

Presidential Photo (1861-65)

*(Wikipedia) Whitman's "title Leaves of Grass was a pun. 'Grass' was a term given by publishers to works of minor value and 'leaves' is another name for the pages on which they are printed."

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