Loose Ends


I feel a little guilty for omitting the following poem from my consideration of Walt Whitman as Patron Poet:


I Saw Old General At Bay


 


I saw old General at bay,


(Old as he was, his gray eyes yet shone out in battle like stars,)


His small force was now completely hemm’d in, in his works,


He call’d for volunteers to run the enemy’s lines, a desparate


                                emergency


I saw a hundred and more step forth from the ranks, but two


                                or three were selected,


I saw them receive their orders aside, the listen’d with care,


                                the adjutant was very grave,


I saw them depart with cheerfulness, freely risking their lives.


                                                – Walt Whitman


It is a little too severe to interpret from a software development viewpoint unless your projects are life or death struggles performed under hostile fire. But it does accurately reflect Walt’s skill in taking isolated scenes and magnifying them into something extraordinary and time-transcending.


I wonder if Walt would agree with my interpretation of his work through a software development process perspective any more than he might agree with any other strictly-bound perspective? Given his proclivity for common man and events, I think he would support any perspective or interpretation of his work provided someone was still reading it. Poets above all else want immortality through their works; a reader with an unexpected perspective is still a reader.


And as long as I am washing away my guilt, I left this one out of the Dylan Thomas discussion.


Shall Gods Be Said To Thump The Clouds


 


Shall gods be said to thump the clouds


When clouds are cursed by thunder,


Be said to weep when weather howls?


Shall rainbows be their tunics’ color?


 


When it is rain where are the gods?


Shall it be said they sprinkle water


From garden cans, or free the floods?


 


Shall it be said that, venuswise,


An old god’s dugs are pressed and pricked,


The wet night scolds me like a nurse?


 


It shall be said that gods are stone.


Shall a dropped stone drum on the ground,


Flung gravel chime? Let the stones speak


With tongues that talk all tongues.


                                                – Dylan Thomas


“Thump the clouds”. Great stuff.