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Walt Whitman and Umberto Fiori Agree

Walt Whitman wrote:

I AM THE POET

I am the poet of reality
I say the earth is not an echo
Nor man an apparition;
But that all the things seen are real,
The witness and albic dawn of things equally real
I have split the earth and the hard coal and rocks and the solid bed of the sea
And went down to reconnoitre there a long time,
And bring back a report,
And I understand that those are positive and dense every one
And that what thhey seem to the child they are
[And that the world is not joke,
Nor any part of it a sham].

(A poem Whitman didn't complete. Taken from Ceslaw Milosz's anthology, A Book of Luminous Things)



Umberto Fiori wrote:

CHIN

If someone in the street
shouts at me "What was that you said?".
stops the motorbike, gets off, takes a run at me,
grabs me by the collar --
it means that words
when somebody says them
don't just drop into the void:
somewhere, somebody hears them.

And people see me: I'm not just stared through.
I'm not alone, if my head-butts
find a chin. If the face is sore
and the teeth have a taste of blood
then it's true: there is a place
where we all are present.

And that is where every second
I wait, expecting you.

(trans. Alistair Elliot, in Oxford Poetry, Summer Issue, 1999)

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