Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Eli Siegel


 
 
Eli Siegel's note to the poem
They Look at Us
1968
Martin Luther King on the conservative side is with the slain Abraham Lincoln. But as one who went out in the streets, he is with the non-treatise-writing John Brown. It is easy to think of John Brown, like a star, looking down on us, seeing how we shall do. (Vachel Lindsay has a good poem on the subject.) And we can now think of Martin Luther King, too—in the company of John Brown—looking down at us, observing. Shelley says something of the kind in the last lines of Adonais:
I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar;
Whilst, burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,
The soul of Adonais, like a star, 
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.
From this, we can see John Keats with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King: there is no reason we should not. Indeed, every star can be regarded as the largest meaning of a person: for a star looks. To look down from on high at us is to be in the employ of a world careful that what it, the world, is, be loved as much as is deserved.—And John Brown, too, wanted some way of looking at the world loved rather than an acquiring way of particular parties.

    Click here to read the poem "They Look at Us"
 



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From Hail, American Development (Definition Press)
© 1968 by Eli Siegel


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