Bob Moses vs. Walt Whitman

nycpf's picture

During our book club discussion last night, as part of an ongoing reading of Power Broker, a comparison of Robert Moses and Walt Whitman came up. This was in the context of Moses being heralded as the Long Island Parks Commissioner.

Obviously, both men were the antithesis of what each other stood for -- Whitman, who predates Moses admired the scenic bounty of Long Island in its "natural" state. Moses, on the other hand, had a grand vision of building a comprehensive Park System and highways, thereby effectively disturbing the "Great Wilderness to the East," known as Long Island.

During the course of the reading assignment of the book, there was a reference to a Walt Whitman poem, titled Paumanok, dated February 29, 1888. It's very rare that Whitman's work can be cited in this group -- so I'd like to take this opportunity to share the full text of the poem:

Sea-beauty! stretch'd and basking!
One side thy inland ocean laving, broad, with
copious commerce, steamers, sails,
And one the Atlantic's wind caressing, fierce or
gentle—mighty hulls dark-gliding in the distance
Isle of sweet brooks of drinking-water—healthy air and soil!
Isle of the salty shore and breeze and brine!