Ruth Sabath Rosenthal | Oh, for the green of bygone days!

“I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.”
—     Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Song of Myself

Walt, it’s been over a century since you
bequeathed us the trees of your youth
standing sky-high in air fresh with optimism —
trees, that now stand stalwart in airs rank
with intolerance, limbs reaching upward
entreating heaven. I quake in the timbre

of an unrest that surely would have
waked you in a drench of foreboding.
Foreboding belying the green of your grass,
your blush of autumnal hues, snowflakes
dancing upon bare branches reaching far
& wide, warming wanting hearts &

enlivening the earth with a melt giving way
to burgeoning spring. Earth, where today,
flags raised nation after nation, shamelessly
wave. O Walt, if only you were here to unearth
the green of grass scorched in these flag-
rantly hostile days. If only your ebullient praise

of green would raise spirits worldwide,
your love of mankind & heart-warmed words
proclaiming that love, however translated,
could be the uncommon denominator
that bonds factions fractured, thus closing
the breach dividing the universal us.

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal is a New York City poet, well published in the U.S. and, also, internationally. In October 2006, her poem “on yet another birthday” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Ruth has authored five books: “Facing Home”
(a chapbook), “Facing Home and beyond,” “little, but by no means small,”
“Food: Nature vs Nurture,” and “Gone, but Not Easily Forgotten.” All are available from Check out Ruth’s websites:  and and her blog site:

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