From Walt Whitman’s “Old Poets”

Wikipedia credits George C. Cox, 1887 for photo

“…Perhaps, indeed, the rarest and most blessed quality of transcendent noble poetry–as of law, and of the profoundest wisdom and estheticism–is, (I would suggest,) from sane, completed, vital, capable old age.

The final proof of song or personality is a sort of matured, accreted, superb, evoluted, almost divine, impalpable diffuseness and atmosphere or invisible magnetism, dissolving and embracing all–and not any special achievement of passion, pride, metrical form, epigram, plot, thought, or what is call’d beauty. The bud of the rose of the half-blown flower is beautiful, of course, but only the perfected bloom or apple or finish’d wheat-head is beyond the rest. Completed fruitage like this comes (in my opinion) to a grand age, in man or woman, through an essentially sound continuated physiology and psychology (both important) and is the culminating glorious aureole of all and several preceding. Like the tree or vine just mention’d, it stands at last in a beauty, power and productiveness of its own, above all others, and of a sort and style uniting all criticisms, proofs and adherences. …”

And this suggests – what? I’d urge all of us to continue writing, painting, playing a musical instrument, working at your craft, whatever you’ve selected as such, because you may yet produce that rare piece of which you have always been capable, but have not yet tried.

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