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THE CENTENARIAN始S STORY "Aye, this is the ground, My blind eyes even as I speak behold it re-peopled from graves, The years recede, pavements and stately houses disappear, Rude forts appear again, the old hoop始d guns are mounted, I see the lines of rais始d earth stretching from river to bay, I mark the vista of waters, I mark the uplands and slopes; Here we lay encamp始d, it was this time in summer also."

(a conversation between a Revolutionary War veteran and a young Union Army volunteer in the first year of the Civil War. Soldiers drill on a bright day in Fort Greene Park, and the veteran suddenly remembers the real fighting he took part in eightyfive years earlier on the same hills overlooking the Gowanus marshes)

by Walt Whitman, Brooklyn Poet from Leaves of Grass, 1855 as quoted in Barnet Schecter's The Battle for New York, 2010

The Centenarian’s Story, Walt Whitman, 1855  

This is a poem that captures the rapid changes that the Gowanus watershed has gone through, the eternal cycles of conflict and rebirth, and...