The Lofty Actors


When I saw the word lofty  I thought of this short poem by the 19th century American poet

Walt Whitman.  He wrote it after the Civil War, and upon the death of Ulysees S. Grant.

For some reason, in these days after our very divisive national election, as we seek to work together for the good of the whole people, it seems appropriate:



AS one by one withdraw the lofty actors

From that great play on history’s stage eterne,

That lurid, partial act of war and peace—of old and new contending,

Fought out through wrath, fears, dark dismays, and many a long suspense,

All past—and since, in countless graves reced- ing, mellowing,

Victor’s and vanquish’d—Lincoln’s and Lee’s— now thou with them,

Man of the mighty days—and equal to the days!

Thou from the prairies!—tangled and many- vein’d and hard has been thy part,

To admiration has it been enacted!


And still shall be; resume again, thou hero heart!

Strengthen to firmest day, O rosy dawn of hope!

Thou dirge I started first, to joyful shout reverse! and thou, O grave,

Wait long and long!





<a href=””>Lofty</a&gt;

<a href=””>Lofty</a&gt;



Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

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