Our Poets Shall Be Our Common Referees

Francis Scott Key observing Fort McHenry, painting by Edward Percy Moran, 1905

This post is my belated gift for the 243rd birthday of the United States of America. As I pondered on the nation’s history, I discovered some things I didn’t know. I wish to share these things with you. These things have a connection with the teachings of the New Message from God.

Our poets shall be our common referees

My fellow American, poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) wrote the final version of the poem “By Blue Ontario’s Shore” in 1881. The above picture is from that very year. It is a lengthy poem, sweeping over the past fifty years or so. I consider one of the main ideas of this poem to be “America needs poets.” In stanza 9 of 20 stanzas, he writes the following:

Of all races and eras these States with veins full of poetical stuff 
most need poets, and are to have the greatest, and use 
them the greatest,
Their Presidents shall not be their common referee so much as 
their poets shall.

It took a while to find our anthem

John Stafford Smith (1750-1836), composer of the melody of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Our poets shall be our common referees. I recently discovered that “The Star-Spangled Banner” did not become the national anthem of the United States of America until 1931. My fellow American, Francis Scott Key, wrote what was then called “The Defense of Fort M’Henry” in 1814. Francis Scott Key was a lawyer by trade. He is much more well-known for this poem than for any case he argued in any court.

Why did it take so long? There are multiple reasons. One was that the melody was the melody to a song called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a song about drinking and sex. The end of every verse speaks of the entwining of the myrtle of Venus (the Roman goddess of love) and Bacchus’s vine (Bacchus being the Roman god of wine). Some people considered the melody to have ignoble connotations, and thus unacceptable for a national anthem. But the song eventually fell out of fashion, and the associations faded. Another reason was that it was unclear whether there would be a United States at all during the season of the Civil War of 1861-1865. A third reason was that there were other candidates for a national anthem, such as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee, (written in 1831)” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” (written in 1861), and “America the Beautiful” (written in 1895).

Let this be our motto “In God is our trust”

Postage stamp quoting the fourth verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Our poets shall be our common referees. Many people are unaware that “The Star-Spangled Banner” has four verses. The fourth verse answers the question at the end of the first verse. “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand  
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation, 
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n – rescued land 
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just, 
And this be our motto–“In God is our trust.” 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave 
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I believe that when “The Star-Spangled Banner” became our national anthem, all four verses of Francis Scott Key’s poem became national poetry. And 25 years later, the words “In God We Trust” became America’s official motto in 1956. Francis Scott Key functioned as one of America’s common referees.

Liberty to follow what I know

Our poets shall be our common referees. It was easy to see from the bloody aftermath of the French revolution (1789-1799) that unrestricted liberty had its drawbacks. I consider the greatness of America to be the liberty to follow what I know, the liberty to trust my deepest inclinations. The freedom of religion that America enshrined in its Constitution makes it possible for me to practice the New Message from God.

It took 117 years for the Star-Spangled Banner to become our national anthem. Right now, people are writing anthems for a unified humanity. Who knows, perhaps one of those anthems will be the anthem of Planet Earth in the year 2136.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

I Specify You With Joy, O My Comrade

Walt Whitman I specify you with joy, O my comrade

A poem by the American poet Walt Whitman has been making its way around the New Message from God worldwide community.

I specify you with joy, O my comrade

I was not aware of this poem until very recently. It appeared as one of the “Messenger Leaves” of the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass, and also appears in the “Autumn Rivulets” section of the 1892 “deathbed” edition.

This poem vibrates sympathetically with a portion of the revelation “The Meaning of Christmas,” received by Marshall Vian Summers in December of 1994. This teaching has inspired me to write a number of posts.

“Christmas is a celebration of every moment that the person is moved by Knowledge and contributes with Knowledge. Though it is celebrated as one event in your calendar, as a unique time of the year, it is meant to be an experience for you to have in life and for you to share with others.

Then you will come to know Jesus, not because you can sympathize with him, but because you are undergoing a process that he underwent, and you are beginning to experience the reality that he represented. Then he will no longer be a historical figure. Then he will no longer be an idol for you, someone to worship. Then he will no longer be beyond your reach. Instead, he will become your friend, your companion, your elder brother. And his demonstration and his life, his suffering and his achievement will all have great meaning for you because you will be beginning to experience them for yourself. And you will know that he is not to be idolized, but to be embraced.”

I specify you with joy, O my comrade. Whitman wrote about how others shared his experience now, and how others would share his experience in the future. Did he write about people like you and me?

A compassionater in this context is someone who thinks and feels like someone else. No, I never use the word “peremptorily.” It means “insisting on immediate attention or obedience,” which makes sense from the context.

To Him that was Crucified

MY spirit to yours, dear brother;
Do not mind because many, sounding your name, do not understand you;
I do not sound your name, but I understand you, (there are others also;)
I specify you with joy, O my comrade, to salute you, and to salute those who are with you, before and since—and those to come also,
That we all labor together, transmitting the same charge and succession;
We few, equals, indifferent of lands, indifferent of times;
We, enclosers of all continents, all castes—allowers of all theologies,
Compassionaters, perceivers, rapport of men,
We walk silent among disputes and assertions, but reject not the disputers, nor any thing that is asserted;
We hear the bawling and din—we are reach’d at by divisions, jealousies, recriminations on every side,
They close peremptorily upon us, to surround us, my comrade,
Yet we walk unheld, free, the whole earth over, journeying up and down, till we make our ineffaceable mark upon time and the diverse eras,
Till we saturate time and eras, that the men and women of races, ages to come, may prove brethren and lovers, as we are.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Space Beyond Any Astronomer’s Dreams

Walt Whitman 1852 Space beyond any astronomer's dreams

I was rummaging through an old poetry book at a used book sale when I came across this poem by American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892). “When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer” was written in 1865, and appeared in the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass.

Space beyond any astronomer’s dreams

There is a step in Steps to Knowledge with which this poem vibrates very sympathetically. Step 326 of 365 steps is “The Greater Community is something I can feel but cannot understand.”

Space beyond any astronomer’s dreams. There are 9 steps in Steps to Knowledge where the phrase “Greater Community” is mentioned in the step itself. The first step is Step 187, “I am a citizen of the Greater Community of Worlds.”. The last step is Step 326. Part of the preparation of Steps to Knowledge is how an individual can prepare for humanity’s emergence into a greater community of intelligent life.

Space beyond any astronomer’s dreams. But for right now, I need poetry to even be able to think about things too great for me to bear. Who knows, maybe Walt Whitman felt a little bit of what I’m feeling now. I don’t believe Whitman bore any ill will toward the learn’d astronomer, merely that his configuration of inner lenses and mirrors had a different focus.

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.