Dekho! Look here!






It is seldom that an American poet condescends to interest himself in
so remote a land as India; and I am proportionately glad, therefore, to
be able to record this week a great kindness on the part of no less
distinguished a singer than Walt Whitman. Once upon a time, indeed,
the bard was styled—not by his admirers—the 'Inspired Auctioneer
of the Universe', but he has long outlived the reproach which the
elaborate detail of his workmanship drew down upon him; and
the swing of his half rhythmic, half declamatory, wholly musical lines,
has now drawn round him a delighted and admiring school of followers.
What the great poet's views of an Indian New Year are may be seen
from the following reply to a modest request for 'something seasonable':—



'Dekho! Look here!
From the pines of the Alleghannies I, Walt Whitman—colossal,
pyramidal, immense—send salutation.
I project myself into your personality—! become an integral part of
you.
I am the Junior Civilian horribly dikked by the Superior Being, and
squabbling with a tactless, factless Municipal Committee; and I
too pray for a happy new year.
I am also the Superior Being, impassive, and waltzing on the toes of
all within reach. I too pray, without prejudice, for a happy new year.
I am the European loafer, drunk in the bazaar on country spirits,
with blue lips and a green rat crawling down my neck. I too, out
of the gutter pray for a happy new year.
I am the gay, the joyous subaltern, with six ponies in my stables and
a shroff in the background. And I too pray for a happy new year.
I am the "joy of wild asses" with my husband absent in the
Soudan and a ten-strong following at my high silk heels. And I
too pray for a happy new year.
I am in Sirsa, Jhang or Montgomery, separated from Dicky,
Emmy or Baby, living in a tent with my husband who is seedy
and overworked. I read the smudgy, round-hand home-letters,
and I too pray for a happy new year.
Oh! Civilian, Superior Being, Loafer, Subaltern, Grass-Widow and
Grass-Mother of many conflicting domesticities, I salute you.
In the name of our great ruler Humanity I too wish you all
individually and collectively, somehow or any how—a Happy
New Year.'