Mimicking Walt Whitman
Mimicking writers we admire is often a starting point for young writers but it should never stop there. Developing our style and improving our craft never ends and neither should the practices we use to develop them.
I wrote this poem mimicking Walt Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. An excellent poem by an excellent poet. Everyone should have a little Whitman in their life.
Crossing the Beach
I rip the coverings from my skin and the fresh cool breeze makes my hairs stand salute,
Smoke encircles me but dares not enter my lungs
For my body is pure, my body is real, my body is alive and the smoke is just a mist,
A mist that vanishes as soon as you begin to believe it is real,
But its presence still surrounds you as it surrounds me without touching our pale flesh
That glows in the reflection of the fire
As the fire consumes me the way the smoke cannot dream.
I strike a hand through the dense air and push myself through and through,
Toes digging and slipping with the shredded earth beneath them as if this was a tango,
And there is nothing but this moment with the earth beneath my feet and the smoke daring to come near
And the waters just steps away and I move forward on, nothing to stop me.
Ah! Icy waters! Do I feel as warm to you as you feel cold to me?
Not sure where the water begins and my body ends,
This vast liquid is the smoke of my body’s fire.
This moment is nothing but the moment and needs to be nothing more.