Stacking Wood with Walt Whitman… by Patricia Babbitt


Stacking Wood with Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman leans against the woodshed gazing long,
Panama hat cocked daringly to one side,
displaying his full poetic length, I sigh!
That muse-inspired half-grin that spreads across the America of his face,
I pause to admire the egalitarian vision before me.
But the woodpile calls.

Walt Whitman says the snow will soon fly
as back and forth I trod
selecting each individual log for its
cut, color, texture, ease of use, and burn potential.
Stacked neatly there outside the kitchen door row upon row,
Walt Whitman, with raised brow, finger-combs his grizzled beard,
and nods in approval.

Searing summer heat yields to the glory of Indian summer.
Beads of purifying sweat skitter down my forehead
as the stack reaches higher and higher.
Walt Whitman yalps and celebrates my pioneer spirit!
Gray beard flying, arms outstretched,
he spins in circles with wild abandon
in the green and golden field of tall summer grasses.

Soon my body pleads like a child for one more day.
I mutter soft-spoken promises to revisit the woodpile again.
Walt Whitman concedes that Rome wasn’t built in a day
And invites my soul to loaf.

Lying in the crook of his elbow,
his blue-velvet voice quenches my thirst.
The sonorous nightingale warbles verse upon verse of
“Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,”
decreeing our oneness with everything.


Patricia Babbitt is a contemporary science fiction/fantasy author whose works span fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and educational writing. As a freelance writer, she has worked as a copy editor of novel manuscripts for Pendium Publishing and as an independent copy editor for authors seeking publication. She has written and published poetry, short stories, and is now working on two manuscripts in fiction and non-fiction for publication. Visit her blog on the web for insightful ramblings, and, at times, writing-related topics at Her writing journal offers a sampling of her works.

Copyright © 2011 by Patricia Babbitt