To A Stranger by Walt Whitman

In this poem, Walt Whitman uses verse to put forward the idea of universal connectivity. He talks about a stranger, being exceedingly vague in his description of the person.  He leaves the complete identity, right down to the gender of the stranger, ambiguous and open to interpretation, hence effectively  widening its scope to encompass all of humanity.

Something about the stranger strikes a spark of remembrance in Whitman, who is suddenly overcome with a sense of vague nostalgia. He proclaims that his path has undoubtedly crossed that of the strangers before, a long time ago in a previous life. He recounts fondly the wisps of a memory that he is able to recollect, of a time where his and the strangers lives have intertwined. According to Whitman, in the haze of a memory, he relives the time when he and this stranger had been inseparable, recalling affectionately how they had grown together, from boys to men, having shared beds, food and milestones throughout that life.

He muses on the absurdity and misfortune of social norms which prevents two willing strangers from interacting with each other. Due to this unwritten manifesto of society, Whitman knows that it is not in his destiny to approach the stranger, who was once his better half and is left with the comfort of reminiscing their journey together in solitude.

Letters to Juliet

The young man rubbed his gloved hands together as he paced up and down the intersection in the park, blowing puffs of ‘smoke’ into the chilly morning air. Over in the distance you could hear the children shouting playfully as they skated over the frozen pond and the morning song of the canaries. He looked over the corner again, waiting for her to come. Then, he heard the sounds of footsteps. His head immediately spun to the crossing of the intersection where all the paths merged and he waited for the body making those sounds to appear, his breath caught in his throat. Then, the body of a jogger wearing track pants plunged into view and, plugged in with headphones, ran by steadily. False alarm. Steady, he told himself. He couldn’t get so excited every time he heard the sound of footsteps or else he was going to have a coronary by the end of the day. He knew she would come; now it was just a matter of waiting. Taking a sip of his coffee to help calm his nerves, he settled himself on the opposite bench from where he had a clear view of any person passing. As he sat on the bench he noticed the words ‘Joanna and Jack forever’ craved into the backrest of the bench roughly as though it was carved there by a pocket-knife. Joanna. The sight of her name caved next to his made him feel emotions that he had not felt in a long time and as waves of sadness and nostalgia crashed over him, he bit down his lower lip which had now started to tremble just to prevent himself from having an emotional breakdown right there in the middle of the park. This is place where they had come right after their first date and sat there under the dark night sky scattered with stars which seemed to shine as bright as the gems on the Queen’s Crown on that night. Never had he seen the sky so brilliantly lit with thousand of stars, it was as though they were glowing more brightly especially for the two of them. And as they had sat they, drenched in the moonlight, he had remove his pocket-knife and carved in their names on that bench, so that this day they had spent together would not ever be forgotten, as a memorial of their time together. He remembered the secret meetings they had in the dead of the night on her balcony, how he used to scale up the tree outside her bedroom and knock lightly on her window and how she would always greet him with that heart-winning smile of hers. They used to joke that they did it better then Romeo and Juliet. But then they got careless; and caught. The ruckus her father had created awoke the whole neighborhood in the early hours of the morning. Her father’s disapproval was something the both of them had expected but not to such extremes. By the end of the week, he had her shipped off to convent. But it would take more than that to break the bonds of a love that had grown so strong in such a short period of time. They were star-crossed lovers, they were destined for each other and nothing could ever change that. They wrote letters every week and he came to visit her every month when she snuck out to meet him. One week, in the middle of February, 2 months after she had been sent to convent, she broke the news to him. She was pregnant. She had noticed this last month but had restrained from telling him for she was feared his response. To his own surprise, his response was one filled with joyousness and excitement. He wasn’t scared or angry or even apprehensive. He was only thrilled. After that he had visited her more and more often, almost every alternate day. But he had yet missed the first special moments of his daughter-her first kick, her first punch, her first movements. He had immediately started looking for work-he wanted to be able to support his family. He had only been 21 at that time. He worked during the day and went to night school, his future plan being to get a more respectable job. He needed to set an example for his child. But that reward never did come, he had never yet seen his daughter. She was sent straight to the orphanage and the same day Joanna was shipped away to her aunts in England where she was watched like a hawk. After that, he lost all communication with her. 20 years later today, these wounds yet felt fresh. He ran his fingertips of his rough, work-worn hands over the carving in the wooden bench and tears glistened in his eyes. The sound of footsteps jerked John back from his day-dreams. Then, he saw her.

“Dad?”- those are the first words he heard come out from his daughter’s mouth. She looked at him with her mother’s eyes. Oh! How he had missed the gaze of those azure eyes upon his! Her voice was music to his ears and he found himself speechless in front of her. But she didn’t need words. She just walked right up to him and wrapped him in a embrace so possessive, like she never wanted to let go. And he didn’t ever want her to. And this is how they sat till what seemed like forever, his little girl in his arms. And what is her name you may ask? Her mother chose it as a memorial of their times together: Juliet.

The Unbreakable Vow

This is just a short story I had written about two years ago when I was about fourteen. Let me know what you think, I’d love any feedback  (:

The Unbreakable Vow.

The old man arrived at the poorly lit Coffee Shop as always, at 7AM on the dot and took his customary seat in the last cubicle on the left in the corner; right next to the hat-stand as he sipped his usual coffee-a double cappuccino. He read the morning paper with a frown on his face, muttering to himself as he turned the pages. His wrinkled skin looked like crumpled tissue paper and his brow was, as always knit together as though he was constantly in deep thought. As he folded up his paper, he took in a deep breath, inhaling the scent of the freshly ground coffee and listened to the symphony of the coffee-machines at work. He sat there, from dawn to dusk, watching the people come and go, listened to the amiable talks of the customers and the occasional argumentative conversations of the businessmen. But all these noises fell on deaf ears. His eyes saw but didn’t register the people entering and existing the café. His gaze never shifted from the door. He had eyes only for one person. He knew she would come, she had promised. And he was yet to see her break her word. He would wait for her, right there, in the coffee shop right off the corner of Broadway Street, right there in the last cubicle on the left in the corner, right next to the hat stand, sitting in the same spot where they had first met, first fallen in love, first kissed. This was the spot where he had first asked her to be his and his only, to be his to love and care for, to provide and protect, for her to be his wife. And when she had accepted his proposal with glittering, tear-filled eyes, this was the spot where he had experienced for the first time complete happiness and contentment. It was on this spot where he realized that he didn’t need anything else, not wealth, not fame, nothing else but her. His heart yearned for no materialistic pleasures, he had no love for them, and he never had had. He remembered how he felt in her arms, as he inhaled her sweet, tantalizing smell of lavender and how he felt an air of serenity and tranquility overcome him and how he felt himself lost in her embrace. He remembered the heartrending day when she came running into the coffee shop, her face red and blotchy and her golden hair streaming behind her, her red-streak marked hands covering her face. Sobbing inconsolably, she told him about her father’s response when she had finally gathered up the courage to tell him she was engaged. He has always known that her father didn’t approve of him put he had never thought that he would take such drastic measures. That was the last time he had seen her before her father had her shipped away to England to live with her aunts. That was the day she had promised him she would come back for him and they would be reunited, right there in that café. A sudden clattering sound as the mountain of trays came crashing down onto the clumsy waiter jerked him back from his voyage down memory lane and wiping a tear which had rolled half-way down his cheek in a rough, hasty motion he once again turned his attention to the front door. Nothing. The sun set and another day came to pass but his hopes didn’t die and his belief didn’t falter. He had her word and that was enough.

The next morning he awoke with the sun. The day was clear and not a cloud was to be seen in the resplendently azure sky. The birds’ song seemed to rekindle the dying spark in the old man’s heart which now raged like an inferno within him, warming him from head to toe. He smiled for the first time in years. As the bell above door tinkered as he entered the Coffee Shop, he was hit with a scent that he had almost forgotten. It was the only scent that could set off a raging lust deep inside his heart. It was the smell of lavender. He lifted his eyes and with bated breath, raised his gaze toward the last cubicle and saw that it was already occupied. A woman sat there alone with her back to the door, her fingers nervously intertwined over her coffee mug as if she were waiting for someone.  And then, as though she sensed his presence, she suddenly went completely still. Then she turned around and her eyes fell upon him. He wordlessly made his way through the café and came to stand in front of her and though his heart was singing praise to the heavens at the top of its voice, he found himself tongue-tied. There were no words to describe this moment. And such they stood for a whole minute, neither of them wanting to say a word lest it destroy this perfect moment. At last, they old man found his voice. “You came,” he managed to croak, is voice full of pent-up emotion. She looked at him with eyes full of love and longing and said in a voice that thrilled every fiber in his body, “I gave you my word, didn’t I?