There’s much to be said about Whitman’s longtime ‘friend’ Pete Doyle. Most scholars, as does this author, believe that Whitman and Doyle were more than mere friends. Whitman cared very deeply for Doyle and their intimate relationship spanned decades. The Whitman Archive has a very comprehensive bio on Pete Doyle.
Pete and his brother, Edward, are buried in Washington, D.C. at Congressional Cemetery.
Near the Doyle graves are a grove of magnificent cherry trees.
I might also like to share that this author happened upon a small rock buried in the ground near Pete Doyle’s grave which was transported to Camden, NJ and placed in Whitman’s tomb.
Whitman & Doyle Image Credit: Whitman Archive
From the last section of Song of Myself, Whitman writes:
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me, It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds, it coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun, I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, if you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, and filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.
I love this whole passage, but that last sentence I find encouraging and appropriate for my journey this weekend! I will be trekking to Washington D.C. in search of Whitman and intend to discover Whitman’s influence upon the city is still very alive. My trek will continue with a short drive north for further Whitman searching’s in Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.
Check back soon, I’m certain there will be lots for me to share!
Planning a visit to Washington D.C.? There are many Walt Whitman points of interest in the city.
Whitman Walking Tour of D.C.:
Dupont Circle Metro Station at 20th & Q Streets NW:
Peter Doyle grave at Congressional Cemetery: