Sunday, July 28, 2013:
Thoughts after returning from a rally to protest New York State’s threatened closing of Long Island College Hospital.
One of Whitman’s great supporters was American naturalist John Burroughs. Burroughs’ nephew Chauncey B. Deyo (called “Channy B.” by his uncle) grew to know and admire the older poet. Deyo was studying medicine at Long Island College Hospital when he tragically died at the age of 23. Both Burroughs and Whitman were thrown into despair.
Burroughs in a letter to Whitman dated June 5, 1874 says: “It almost cut me in two.”
In a letter to Burroughs, Whitman writes:
Your second letter, with sad news –following the sad, sad inexpressibly sad news of the first—has just reached me.
I will not write any of the usual condolences—Channy’s malady and death seem to be of those events sometimes mocking with unaccountable sudden tragedies & cross-purposes, all of us, & all of our affairs…