Rudolfo Anaya and Hope through Whitman

I thought that Rudolfo Anaya’s “Walt Whitman Strides the Llano of New Mexico” was one of the most moving poems that I had ever read. The tango of Spanish and English vocabulary was nothing short of beautiful. The power of the speaker in this poem is incredible. Anaya writes:

I knew you would one day leap across the Mississippi!
Leap from the Manhattas!…Leap over slavery!… Leap to Miracles!
I always knew that. I dreamed that.

Anaya’s words are so full of hope and maintain such a confidence in Walt Whitman. There is a certain level of energy and ecstasy in “Walt Whitman Strides the Llano of New Mexico”. I found myself choked up while reading the seventh stanza:

I kept the faith, don Walt, because I always knew
You could leap continents! Leap over the squalor!
Leap over pain and suffering, and the ash heap we
Make of our Earth! Leap into my arms.

This particular moment in Rudolfo Anaya’s poem is so powerful and so moving. I think it epitomizes the degree of faith that so many people are clinging to in the world. Of course, not everyone is waiting with bated breath for Whitman to leap into their arms but I feel that Whitman stands to represent the change that people so desperately desire.

This poem is a timeless poem, it’s words are still relatable. Although most people wouldn’t blink an eye at “dark child” entering university in today’s society this poem remains a piece of literature that people can find a piece of themselves in.

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1 Response to Rudolfo Anaya and Hope through Whitman

  1. AVZ says:

    Lovely post, Cali. I love that poem as well. The way he mixes Spanish and English and slang reminds me of the late Gloria Anzaldua–her Borderlands. Anaya is primarily a writer of fiction, but like so many writers finds it necessary to commune with the bard in verse.

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