What is the theme for Vachel Lindsay's poem "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight"?

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eir | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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This poem is about the hard work of an American public figure, but it also needs to be read in its historical context. Havel was a dissident in the former Soviet bloc country, Czechoslovakia, and this poem is in part a reminder of the hard work and determination of digging in and seeing a revolution through.

Notice the stanza:

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn

Shall come;—the shining hope of Europe free:

A league of sober folk, the Workers' Earth,

Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea.


Some time after this poem was written, Havel would become the president of the Czech Republic.

To discuss: what are the politics of speaking to an American hero, and of speaking to Abraham Lincoln in particular in this Czech poem. What analogy does that make between American slaves and the Czech people?

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