Walt Whitman “Pioneers! O Pioneers!

First, a recording of a fine actor, Will Geer, reading “Pioneers! O Pioneers!

Second, a recording of this poem being live streamed.


The Walt Whitman Show on Periscope
(saved via Katch)



Pioneers! O Pioneers!

COME, my tan-faced children,
Follow well in order, get your weapons ready;
Have you your pistols? have you your sharp edged axes?
Pioneers! O pioneers!

For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

O you youths, western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship, 10
Plain I see you, western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Have the elder races halted?
Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied, over there beyond the
We take up the task eternal, and the burden, and the lesson,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

All the past we leave behind;
We debouch upon a newer, mightier world, varied world,
Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

We detachments steady throwing,
Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
Conquering, holding, daring, venturing, as we go, the unknown ways,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

We primeval forests felling,
We the rivers stemming, vexing we, and piercing deep the mines
We the surface broad surveying, we the virgin soil upheaving,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Colorado men are we,
From the peaks gigantic, from the great sierras and the high
From the mine and from the gully, from the hunting trail we come,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

From Nebraska, from Arkansas,
Central inland race are we, from Missouri, with the continental blood
All the hands of comrades clasping, all the Southern, all the
Pioneers! O pioneers!

O resistless, restless race!
O beloved race in all! O my breast aches with tender love for all!
O I mourn and yet exult–I am rapt with love for all,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Raise the mighty mother mistress,
Waving high the delicate mistress, over all the starry mistress,
(bend your heads all,)
Raise the fang’d and warlike mistress, stern, impassive, weapon’d
Pioneers! O pioneers!

See, my children, resolute children,
By those swarms upon our rear, we must never yield or falter,
Ages back in ghostly millions, frowning there behind us urging,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

On and on, the compact ranks,
With accessions ever waiting, with the places of the dead quickly
Through the battle, through defeat, moving yet and never stopping,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

O to die advancing on!
Are there some of us to droop and die? has the hour come?
Then upon the march we fittest die, soon and sure the gap is fill’d,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

All the pulses of the world,
Falling in, they beat for us, with the western movement beat;
Holding single or together, steady moving, to the front, all for us,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Life’s involv’d and varied pageants,
All the forms and shows, all the workmen at their work,
All the seamen and the landsmen, all the masters with their slaves,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

All the hapless silent lovers,
All the prisoners in the prisons, all the righteous and the wicked,
All the joyous, all the sorrowing, all the living, all the dying,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

I too with my soul and body,
We, a curious trio, picking, wandering on our way,
Through these shores, amid the shadows, with the apparitions
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Lo! the darting bowling orb!
Lo! the brother orbs around! all the clustering suns and planets,
All the dazzling days, all the mystic nights with dreams,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

These are of us, they are with us,
All for primal needed work, while the followers there in embryo wait
We to-day’s procession heading, we the route for travel clearing,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

O you daughters of the west!
O you young and elder daughters! O you mothers and you wives!
Never must you be divided, in our ranks you move united,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Minstrels latent on the prairies!
(Shrouded bards of other lands! you may sleep–you have done your
Soon I hear you coming warbling, soon you rise and tramp amid us,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Not for delectations sweet;
Not the cushion and the slipper, not the peaceful and the
Not the riches safe and palling, not for us the tame enjoyment,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Do the feasters gluttonous feast?
Do the corpulent sleepers sleep? have they lock’d and bolted doors?
Still be ours the diet hard, and the blanket on the ground,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Has the night descended?
Was the road of late so toilsome? did we stop discouraged, nodding on
our way?
Yet a passing hour I yield you, in your tracks to pause oblivious,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Till with sound of trumpet,
Far, far off the day-break call–hark! how loud and clear I hear it
Swift! to the head of the army!–swift! spring to your places, Pioneers! O pioneers.



  1. I found the video on You Tube with the following information attached:
    Uploaded to You Tube on 11 Nov 2009 
    Vocals By Will Geer

“This is the full version of the poem that was used in the Levi “Go Forth” commercial. I added the backing music to spice it up a bit (thanks Garage Band) You can find the vocal portion of this (and other Whitman poems) on iTunes. I do not own the vocals –  however to take it down for copyright violation would be to down a little piece of America… Whitman….America…think about it”


2.  The Walt Whitman Show is live streamed on Periscope. I use the January 1892 “Death Bed Edition” of Leaves of Grass.  Walt died on 26 March 1892

Binkie Braithwaite RIP

This morning – sipping coffee in Cafe Beva – I heard he’d died. News came via text message from my younger son.

It’s about 13 years since I’ve seen Binkie.


I didn’t cry.  He’d have taken the piss out of me if I had.

He lived on the edge
all his life – aware he could be dead before he finished his latest project (or so I imagined ever since we knew each other in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, UK.)

No one’s a perfect fit to deliver the oration in memory of Binkie – he had so many sides. But I wish, I wish I could be there to stand in honour of his presence.  (He never entered a room without making an impact.)

It’s fitting that this is the first prose piece I’ve written on this blog.

Binkie Braithwaite funniest inventor I ever met.

He invented Gut Barging.  None of you have ever heard of gut barging – but many have in Japan, UK & North America (many “mad raving fans”).

There was much more to Binkie than Gut Barging.  He was an arch conversationalist, centre-wing stand-up comic, beard-grower and a host of other spirits.

No one’s ever met another Binkie – a true snowflake.

Let us celebrate the Life of Binkie (I’m not sure when this movie will go on general release.)

Thank you Binkie
for all  the smiles you brought into my life every time I was in your company, and every time you dwelled in my memory & imagination.


World class media reports
on success of the sport Binkie invented/revived from Sumo.

(1) The Sport of Belly Jousting (2001 by Wertperch)

“…a contest of skill and controlled violence…” – Binkie Braithwaite, The Independent

Honestly, I couldn’t have made this up. This is one of those sports which seem unbelievable, made up for April Fools’ Day. Imagine two ahem large people in a ring, using only their ample middles to oust their opponent – it seems too far-fetched for words. The truth, however is stranger than the fiction would have been.

According to Binkie Braithwaite, founder of the World Gutbargers’ Association, it is “…borrowing from the traditions of Japanese Sumo. Basically it gives fat, drunken people the opportunity to excel…” Some have tried to place the origins in mediæval jousting tournament sideshows, but there can be no doubt that it is growing in popularity in this 21st century.

The rules seem to be quite straightforward. The two combatants, stripped to the waist (male or female – there are no barriers here) face each other across a mat twelve feet by eight, and with bellies well oiled, attempt to force one another off the mat using only their gut. There are a number of moves which attract points. Two of the more colourful are the Full Johnny Turk (a single thrusting blow which propels the victim off the mat) and the Shunt or Full Blubber (a full-strength push over the line), each of which scores 15 Points. No contact is permitted other than the belly – arms are held out at the sides for balance, but no wrestling is involved.

The sport is taken semi-seriously by the athletes, the first championships being held in Trowbridge in 1988. Scotland seems to like the sport, and it has made its way into some Highland Games events, although perhaps viewed as less traditional than tossing the caber. Australia too, has organised events. ‘Binkie’ has even been called on to organise an event at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of the support for The Stranglers 20th anniversary gig.

There are already traditions, borrowed, as might be expected, from sumo wrestling. The combatants hurl Bombay mix (a spicy snack food) into the ‘ring’, face up and shout insults at one another, before being told to prepare for battle, with a cry of ‘Guts Up’ by the Balou (referee). At this point, the contestants adopt a position of readiness, their knees bent, shoulders back and guts out. On the command ‘Meet’ the contest begins, they meet in a cataclysm of blubber, grease and sweat, before one is hurled from the ring in disgrace. At least it is more exciting than darts.


(2) Games: On the trail of the abdominal showmen

From the pages of `The Independent’ to the stage of the Albert Hall, Binkie Braithwaite – `the Gutfather’ – explains the finer points of Barging to William Hartston in 2011.

Fourteen months is a long time in Gut Barging. Just over a year ago, few of us had heard of this ancient British recreation, but yesterday night it completed a remarkable return to prominence with its first high- profile international contest, “The Brawl in the Hall”, which formed a weighty part of the 21st anniversary concert of The Stranglers at the Royal Albert Hall… (read a lot more here and gut barging Royal Albert Hall)



gut barging ‎(uncountable)

  1. (Britain) A sport (or slightly mock sport) in which two men with big fat guts (ie. their bellies) try to push each other off a mat, pushing only with their guts.


This is Bond : “Shaken Not Stirred”


I first met Mr Bond on Periscope & was lured into discovering his background & creative work.

Bernie’s story : Let Mr Bernie Bond’s voice introduce his story.

You hear our 007 reveal

  • how he got the name “Bernie”
  • his ancestors – the Aird family from the Black Isle on east coast of Scotland …
  • how his great great grandfather started a company that became prosperous during the industrial revolution …
  • the family story on his father’s side: moved from Scotland to London to Germany to settle in Austria
  • his parents were born in Austria …
  • how Bernie was inspired by his family’s background
  • Bernie’s love of 1960’s music … especially the Beatles
  • how he learned to play guitar & played in groups
  • how he wrote & recorded songs in his little home studio
  • Bernie the keen footballer – still plays today
  • how he earned his living playing in bands & was unemployed
  • the story of how he got a job in the travel industry as resort rep for 4 years in Austrian mountains
  • how his ability to speak German helped
  • how he joined a startup that became a market leader in UK
  • he now works there as contracts & commercial manager for UK tour operator
  • our 007 lives in Mittersill Austria
  • he lived in Bath in 1970s & years later uploaded all his songs on to Internet
  • his got into video & created videos to go with his songs
  • when he heard James Bond crew were filming “Spectre” in villages (where his parents come from) he made this short video, as a tribute to the villages
  • his biggest success was the song “Mittersill Forever” to which Bernie added music, harmony voice & video footage (7k views on Facebook + over 2k on You Tube).


Our 007 Bond in action 



Huge thanks to Bernie Airds (@airdwaves on Twitter + PeriscopeTV on Bernie Airds on You Tube) for his generosity & collaboration.