City with No Neighbors

Walt Whitman reminds us see the buried humanity in that stranger on the subway. In a curious twist of history, Andrew Carnegie, that of , once called Walt Whitman the greatest poet America has ever produced. The steel magnate whose mills powered an industrial revolution saw the genius in the man dressed like a hobo and wrote Leaves of Grass . Whitman wrote many poems chronicling the effects, good and ill, of industrial change. Perhaps none is as poignant as “To a Stranger.” Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look you, You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,) I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you, All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured, You grew up with me, a boy with me, or a girl with me, I ate with you, and slept with you — your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only, You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass — you take of my beard, breast, […]

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