In Oak Meadow’s American Literature course, students explore the work of Walt Whitman. After reading, studying, and writing about Whitman’s poems including “There Was a Child Went Forth,” “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” and “Song of Myself,” students are asked to write a poem that imitates and possibly parodies Whitman’s style. Oak Meadow junior, Charlie Fineran, approached this assignment with gusto and with great respect for his native Ohio and for the voice of this distinctly American poet.
The campground, the creek, the constant, unending unchanging noise of
the water moving not quickly, not slowly, towards the river.
The squeak-clang of the pump brings water from the ground
The Mountain looms over the valley, always there and silent.
The night, darker than imaginable, is filled with the noise of the forest.
The bear, blacker than the night, lumbers across the forest path, making
not a sound except the exhalation through his nose.
Saturday, the day when people arrive.
The hiker heaves his heavy pack and begins towards the trail,
On his pack, two small pots swinging freely,
Clanging audibly with each step.
My father asks me why, and I answer,
To keep the bears away.
My father looks again and says