Tuesday, March 27

Privy To Greatness

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This is, or was, James M. Buchanan's privy. Buchanan you will recall was America's only bachelor president. I think his niece lived in the big house behind with the fifteenth President when he arrived back in Lancaster in 1861 where he used this privy off and on for the last seven years of his life. I wonder at the need for two rooms in this building, but not enough to ask anyone

I seem to recall that the poet Walt Whitman's productive life overlapped Buchanan's years. .
And it was Whitman who preached a poetry of populist transcendence that emphasized beauty and ugliness. He stressed the importance of triviality and fixated upon loneliness, detritus, greed, and sterility. So when I visited Wheatland... Buchanan's homestead on my way home from work today... I saw the way the 78 degree spring afternoon was seducing a kind of engorgement into the leaves of grass all around ... and Leaves Of Grass and the passions of spring snapped my mind to Whitman - and his own passion for triviality... and what could better combine Spring, Buchanan and Whitman better than this... James Buchanan's opulent privy?

Happy Spring...

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