Streams

Galway Kinnell Reads Walt Whitman

Monday, February 24, 2003

I unearthed this poem which I discovered uh, maybe 40 years ago during the Vietnam War when I was looking for something to read at a rally and very recently it surfaced again just like that and it seemed like just the right thing.

To The States
-- by Walt Whitman
To the States or any one of them, or any city of the
States, Resist
much, obey little,
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever
afterward resumes its liberty.

I think particularly of his words "resist much, obey little" -- don't do what people tell you. Don't believe what the government tells you to believe...test it against your own instincts, your own sense of what is right and what is practical and what is responsible and refuse to do what seems reckless and actually not in the interests of our own country.
So here it is again:

To the States or any one of them, or any city of the
States, Resist
much, obey little,
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever
afterward resumes its liberty.

This is Galway Kinnell for WNYC.

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