Song of the Open Road

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road—the gay fresh sentiment of the road.

O highway I travel! O public road! do you say to me, Do not leave me?
Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost?
Do you say, I am already prepared—I am well-beaten and undenied—adhere to me?

O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave you—yet I love you;
You express me better than I can express myself;
You shall be more to me than my poem.

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all great poems also;
I think I could stop here myself, and do miracles;
(My judgments, thoughts, I henceforth try by the open air, the road;)
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever beholds me shall like me;
I think whoever I see must be happy.

-Walt Whitman, from “Song of the Open Road.”

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One response to “Song of the Open Road

  1. Also, how about a little “Prayer of the American Highway,” by Mr. Cain Pence:

    Dear Lord,

    Across bountiful plains into mighty mountains I drive.
    Through fields of plenty and the Mississippi Delta I ride.
    I search for a great nation and a better man.
    Allow me to find what I seek.

    As I contemplate my father’s sins, let me remember
    That a good man like a great nation can have many failings.
    Allow me to forgive.

    As I recall my mother’s suffering, let me recall my motherland’s pain.
    Upon this soil, man enslaved his fellow man and brother has killed brother.
    Yet, her wounds can heal.
    Allow me to find peace.

    As I feel the sorrow of love lost, let me remember the men and women
    Who loved so deeply they gave their lives for my freedom.
    Allow me to move on.

    Upon this great highway let my wounds be healed and my spirit renewed.
    Keep this highway safe and open, this land free and good.
    Allow me to drive on.

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