April 15, 2019
Tax Day. Also, anniversary day — anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. Did you know that? Why does it matter? Death means much more than the cessation of life; it should evoke the celebration of life, acknowledging how a person’s life impacts us.
154 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln died. Walt Whitman’s responses to that in poetic form offer reflection and celebration with a melancholy overlay, all symbolized in elements of Nature in “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Meditating with Nature, in her, can yield much expression of the human state.
Three natural elements of a lilac tree, the song of a solitary, unseen thrush, and the appearance and waning of Venus evoke these words: “Comrades mine and I in the midst and their memory ever to keep, for the dead I loved so well, / For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands and this for his dear sake, / Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul, / There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.” Death provides the time for reflection and evaluation. Our response to the death of others yields life and eternality in that reflection when we understand the nature of Heart within. Death frames and allows life energy to continue unobstructed by this body and the ego required to live in a physical body.
Whitman realizes that bright Venus in the western sky gradually fading into the horizon was a sign of the bright star of Lincoln disappearing. He says, “O powerful western fallen star! / O shades of night — O moody, tearful night! / O great star disappear’d…” He also refers to the title bush, the lilac: “…with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love, / With every leaf a miracle…With delicate-colored blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green, / A sprig with its flower I break.” He intended to lay this on the coffin of President Lincoln as the mourning train traveled past his city. He ultimately offers it up symbolically not only to Lincoln but also to death itself seen in all the coffins of all those slain in the Civil War.
Then, under the darkness of evening he attempts to reconcile the deaths of Lincoln and so many others as he walks along a path close to a swamp and hears the song of the thrush, which echoes his song to death: “Approach strong deliveress, / …when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the dead, / Lost in the loving floating oceans of thee, / Laved in the flood of your bliss O death.” He sings a carol to death using the voice of the thrush. Death highlights and showcases all that one’s life was about; it allows reflection and evaluation.
What mirror do we gaze in to see our own soul condition and to gain an appraisal of Self? Question your own heart, and then give your heart a means to speak to you. Walk and observe and listen to life all around you. Messages to you personally are there, waiting. If you walk in ego, you will not hear them.
Walt Whitman was unrestricted and didn’t care what anyone thought of his poems. He wrote his heart. Abraham Lincoln lived his heart truth for freedom. Since we know death comes, eventually, let’s engage the benefit of it now: reflect, evaluate, and value life through Heart energy. Today’s a good day to begin!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!