The First Electronic Church of America

S A I N T S   &   B I R T H D A Y   P A G E

May 31, 1997

       Saint Of The Day:

            Walt Whitman

alt Whitman was born on this date in 1819, and died on March 26, 1892. He was the greatest American poet of his age, or, perhaps, of any age. His Leaves of Grass is a classic work of poetry that will live forever. His poems celebrated every facet of the life of his time, and he dared write of subjects no one had ever written before, and in ways that no one had ever written. He spurned classic rime and meter. Unlike many poets, he did not serve his apprenticeship as a writer in the academy, but in journalism. Whitman wrote before, during and after the Civil War. He not only participated in that conflict as a male nurse ministering to the sick and wounded, loved both northern and southern soldiers with a passionate tenderness that confirmed for his contemporaries, as it has confirmed for many later students of Whitman, his homosexuality. But if he was a homosexual, he was nonetheless first of all a writer, even to the point of writing letters home for his dear wounded soldiers. And when Pres. Lincoln was shot, he wrote an elegy, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," that rivals any elegy ever written by anyone anywhere. He wrote some prose, after his poetic energy had been exhausted, notably a record of his memories on the battlefields of the war, Specimen Days. Critics have called this work "a magnificent record of Whitman's response to his time -- a heartbreaking recognition of the heroism, the sacrifice, the cruelty, and the beauty of war."

MODEL: Whitman's generosity. The picture of this leonine poet, dressing wounds and washing bandages, is a heartbreaking one. Truly, this man was a man of his time. He did not believe in war. But he was there in the middle of a war, helping others.

Your Birthday Today:

May 31
Day of Cool

Straightforward, Proficient, Flexible

Escapist, Unsettled, Excessive

Stony. If you were born on May 31, you seem one cool customer, but actually, you're a big softy when others get to know you. The cool exterior is often just a wall to hide insecurity from a tough world. Ruled by the number 4 and the planet Uranus, you surprise others with your sudden, incendiary changes in mood.

Never sitting. Always zipping around, you have boundless energy in both the mental and physical worlds. You are a straightforward person who can handle a project efficiently without missing details. You can be very argumentative, however, repeating your case over and over until others throw up their hands.

OOPS. Even when your judgment turns out wrong, you stubbornly stand by your position, unless someone can pull your heartstrings. Usually this requires an appeal to your honor or some sentimentality. You can be swayed by passionate individuals and earnest forms of expression.

Stand tall for the proletariat. You generally present yourself and ideas to the masses, not an elitist few. Confident posture and optimism, you feel, leads inevitably to success. Failure is not in the cards. If it does happen, you are completely mystified but your strong character will bounce back.

Quick-change artist. You are chaotic and chameleon-like, apt to change and adapt quickly. You may try to block this by adding lots of structure in your home or work life. But your true nature can't be stopped; you're always on the go, starting new projects, seeing people.

Some advice: Warm up your cold exterior. State your case once and don't waste time arguing. Face your emotional problems head on and seek solace within.

Also born on this day: Patricia Harris (Carter HEW secretary, lawyer) Ludwig Tieck (German poet, novelist, playwright) Walt Whitman (19th c. poet) Clint Eastwood (actor) Joe Namath (quarterback for the Jets) Norman Vincent Peale (clergyman, writer) Brooke Shields (model, actress) Ellsworth Kelly (painter, sculptor) Henry "Scoop" Jackson (senator, lawyer) Don Ameche (actor) Nicholas Krushenick (painter) Fred Allen (radio comedian) Peter Fleming (theatrical reviewer, novelist)