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Andrew Alden

A Poet's Advice on Geology

By May 23, 2011

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Walt Whitman knew people would smile when he wrote, in 1855, "Hurrah for positive science! Long live exact demonstration!" But he had a sincere love for science, considering it a worthy companion to poetry in his central mission of "showing the connection between reality and the soul." A little later in his career he wrote this, a good candidate for a geologist's motto:

The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first,
Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop'd,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
— "Song of the Open Road"


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