The Poetry of Abraham Lincoln

Robert Pinsky says that only Marcus Aurelius can compete with Abraham Lincoln for the distinction of world class writer and politician. Pinsky looks at Lincoln's poem, "My Childhood-Home I See Again."

Robert Pinsky says that only Marcus Aurelius can compete with Abraham Lincoln for the distinction of world class writer and politician. Pinsky looks at Lincoln's poem, "My Childhood-Home I See Again." "Like many prose masters, Lincoln was a reader and writer of poetry," says Pinksy. "The more ordinary part of the poem (published by newspapers after the assassination and omitting the more unsettling original passages) begins by describing a return to Lincoln's childhood home in Indiana after 20 years away. These opening stanzas look back on the early years with an idealizing, though loss-conscious nostalgia, 'as distant mountains please the eye.' Then, hearing about how many in the old place have died, he feels he is 'living in the tombs.'"