A.S. Maulucci: Poetry teaches, inspires compassion for fellow humans

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A.S. Maulucci: Poetry teaches, inspires compassion for fellow humans


A.S. MAULUCCI


By AARON FLAUM
For The Norwich Bulletin
Posted Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:47 PM
Ashford, Conn. —

Unabashedly, I am a humanist. I make this pronouncement without apologies and knowing I run the risk of being dismissed as hopelessly old-fashioned. Nevertheless, I believe it is compassion for the suffering of my fellow human beings that makes me most worthy of being called a poet.

Since compassion for others is considered one of the highest virtues in every major religion, it stands to reason any civilized nation should not only encourage compassion, but must teach its young people how to be more compassionate. We all need some sensitivity training, as we called it in the 1960s, and great poetry does this very well by educating our emotions in the art of empathy for the sufferings of others.

Let’s first focus on an author who means a great deal to me: Walt Whitman.

In the history of American literature, Whitman is unique for many reasons, but given our purposes here let’s consider his feelings for people, his philosophy and his worldview. They boil down to this: Whitman believed in the goodness and creative potential of the human being.

“Who could admire any being more greatly than man,” declared Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-94) in his “Oration on the Dignity of Man.” About 100 years later, Shakespeare had Hamlet proclaim, in one of his non-ironic moments, “What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason. How infinite in faculties ...” These ideas express Whitman’s beliefs exactly.

The following poem, “To a Stranger,” will serve to represent the many poems in Whitman's body of work that illustrate his profound empathy for others:

Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon 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, were 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, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone,
I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.


Another author who has meant much to me, D.H. Lawrence, wrote Whitman’s sympathy for “the other wayfarers along the road ... He does not say love. He says sympathy ...” is the foundation of a new morality. “His was a morality of the soul living her life, not saving herself. Accepting the contact with other souls along the open way, as they lived their lives.”

A free copy of “The Videographer,” a story from A. S. Maulucci’s new book, “Anxious Love,” is available as a download at www.lorenzopress.com. He is also the author of “100 Love Sonnets,” “Dear Dante” and several other books. You can read his poetry at www.greentigerproductions.com and his fiction at www.anthonymaulucci.com. His books are available from Burgundy Books in East Haddam and online from Amazon.com

Source: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/lifestyles/x1157487396/A-S-Maulucci-Poetry-teaches-inspires-compassion-for-fellow-humans


 

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