D.C. Honors HIV/AIDS Caregivers With Poetry by Whitman, Miller

by Staff


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities unveiled a public art project featuring the poetry of Walt Whitman. On July 14, city council member Jim Graham dedicated the project—an engraving of an excerpt of Whitman's 1865 poem "The Dresser" on a granite wall near the entrance to the Dupont Circle Metrorail station, part of D.C.'s mass transit system—to honor health-care workers who helped people with HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. Whitman's poem evokes his experience helping soldiers during the Civil War. (To read the poem, click here.)

Next month, a second engraving of a poem, by E. Ethelbert Miller, will be completed. Miller's poem "We Embrace" will be engraved at the base of a bench to be installed near the same station on Q Street. Miller, the author of ten poetry collections, including How We Sleep On the Nights We Don't Make Love (Curbstone Press, 2004), directs the African American Resource Center at Howard University. The following is the excerpt of his poem to be engraved:

 We fought against the invisible
 We looked to one another for comfort
 We held the hands of friends and lovers
 We did not turn our backs
 We embraced
 We embraced