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Poems By Poet Walt Whitman  7/24/2014 7:59:09 AM
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Walt Whitman   Best Poems From
  WALT WHITMAN (31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
 
 
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  149.     

Roaming In Thought

ROAMING in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good
steadily hastening towards immortality,
And the vast all that is call'd Evil I saw hastening to merge itself
and become lost and dead.
 
Walt Whitman

Read more: evil poems, lost poems
   
 

   
   
 

  150.     

Song Of The Redwood-Tree


A CALIFORNIA song!
A prophecy and indirection--a thought impalpable, to breathe, as air;
A chorus of dryads, fading, departing--or hamadryads departing;
A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and sky,
Voice of a mighty dying tree in the Redwood forest dense.

Farewell, my brethren,
Farewell, O earth and sky--farewell, ye neighboring waters;
My time has ended, my term has come.


Along the northern coast,
Just back from the rock-bound shore, and the caves, 10
In the saline air from the sea, in the Mendocino country,
With the surge for bass and accompaniment low and hoarse,
With crackling blows of axes, sounding musically, driven by strong
arms,
Riven deep by the sharp tongues of the axes--there in the Redwood
forest dense,
I heard the mighty tree its death-chant chanting.

The choppers heard not--the camp shanties echoed not;
The quick-ear'd teamsters, and chain and jack-screw men, heard not,
As the wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years, to
join the refrain;
But in my soul I plainly heard.

Murmuring out of its myriad leaves, 20
Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high,
Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs--out of its foot-thick bark,
That chant of the seasons and time--chant, not of the past only, but
the future.


You untold life of me,
And all you venerable and innocent joys,
Perennial, hardy life of me, with joys, 'mid rain, and many a summer
sun,
And the white snows, and night, and the wild winds;
O the great patient, rugged joys! my soul's strong joys, unreck'd by
man;
(For know I bear the soul befitting me--I too have consciousness,
identity,
And all the rocks and mountains have--and all the earth;) 30
Joys of the life befitting me and brothers mine,
Our time, our term has come.

Nor yield we mournfully, majestic brothers,
We who have grandly fill'd our time;
With Nature's calm content, and tacit, huge delight,
We welcome what we wrought for through the past,
And leave the field for them.

For them predicted long,
For a superber Race--they too to grandly fill their time,
For them we abdicate--in them ourselves, ye forest kings! 40
In them these skies and airs--these mountain peaks--Shasta--Nevadas,
These huge, precipitous cliffs--this amplitude--these valleys grand--
Yosemite,
To be in them absorb'd, assimilated.


Then to a loftier strain,
Still prouder, more ecstatic, rose the chant,
As if the heirs, the Deities of the West,
Joining, with master-tongue, bore part.

Not wan from Asia's fetishes,
Nor red from Europe's old dynastic slaughter-house,
(Area of murder-plots of thrones, with scent left yet of wars and
scaffolds every where,) 50
But come from Nature's long and harmless throes--peacefully builded
thence,
These virgin lands--Lands of the Western Shore,
To the new Culminating Man--to you, the Empire New,
You, promis'd long, we pledge, we dedicate.

You occult, deep volitions,
You average Spiritual Manhood, purpose of all, pois'd on yourself--
giving, not taking law,
You Womanhood divine, mistress and source of all, whence life and
love, and aught that comes from life and love,
You unseen Moral Essence of all the vast materials of America, (age
upon age, working in Death the same as Life,)
You that, sometimes known, oftener unknown, really shape and mould
the New World, adjusting it to Time and Space,
You hidden National Will, lying in your abysms, conceal'd, but ever
alert, 60
You past and present purposes, tenaciously pursued, may-be
unconscious of yourselves,
Unswerv'd by all the passing errors, perturbations of the surface;
You vital, universal, deathless germs, beneath all creeds, arts,
statutes, literatures,
Here build your homes for good--establish here--These areas entire,
Lands of the Western Shore,
We pledge, we dedicate to you.

For man of you--your characteristic Race,
Here may be hardy, sweet, gigantic grow--here tower, proportionate to
Nature,
Here climb the vast, pure spaces, unconfined, uncheck'd by wall or
roof,
Here laugh with storm or sun--here joy--here patiently inure,
Here heed himself, unfold himself (not others' formulas heed)--here
fill his time, 70
To duly fall, to aid, unreck'd at last,
To disappear, to serve.

Thus, on the northern coast,
In the echo of teamsters' calls, and the clinking chains, and the
music of choppers' axes,
The falling trunk and limbs, the crash, the muffled shriek, the
groan,
Such words combined from the Redwood-tree--as of wood-spirits' voices
ecstatic, ancient and rustling,
The century-lasting, unseen dryads, singing, withdrawing,
All their recesses of forests and mountains leaving,
From the Cascade range to the Wasatch--or Idaho far, or Utah,
To the deities of the Modern henceforth yielding, 80
The chorus and indications, the vistas of coming humanity--the
settlements, features all,
In the Mendocino woods I caught.


The flashing and golden pageant of California!
The sudden and gorgeous drama--the sunny and ample lands;
The long and varied stretch from Puget Sound to Colorado south;
Lands bathed in sweeter, rarer, healthier air--valleys and mountain
cliffs;
The fields of Nature long prepared and fallow--the silent, cyclic
chemistry;
The slow and steady ages plodding--the unoccupied surface ripening--
the rich ores forming beneath;
At last the New arriving, assuming, taking possession,
A swarming and busy race settling and organizing every where;
Ships coming in from the whole round world, and going out to the
whole world, 90
To India and China and Australia, and the thousand island paradises
of the Pacific;
Populous cities--the latest inventions--the steamers on the rivers--
the railroads--with many a thrifty farm, with machinery,
And wool, and wheat, and the grape--and diggings of yellow gold.


But more in you than these, Lands of the Western Shore!
(These but the means, the implements, the standing-ground,)
I see in you, certain to come, the promise of thousands of years,
till now deferr'd,
Promis'd, to be fulfill'd, our common kind, the Race.

The New Society at last, proportionate to Nature,
In Man of you, more than your mountain peaks, or stalwart trees
imperial, 100
In Woman more, far more, than all your gold, or vines, or even vital
air.

Fresh come, to a New World indeed, yet long prepared,
I see the Genius of the Modern, child of the Real and Ideal,
Clearing the ground for broad humanity, the true America, heir of the
past so grand,
To build a grander future.
 
Walt Whitman

Read more: farewell poems, nature poems, america poems, tree poems, future poems, identity poems, murder poems, time poems, world poems, sky poems, death poems, life poems, song poems, sun poems, sometimes poems, music poems, woman poems, summer poems, rose poems, house poems
   
 

   
   
 

  151.     

The Artilleryman's Vision


WHILE my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over long,
And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant midnight
passes,
And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the
breath of my infant,
There in the room, as I wake from sleep, this vision presses upon me:
The engagement opens there and then, in fantasy unreal;
The skirmishers begin--they crawl cautiously ahead--I hear the
irregular snap! snap!
I hear the sounds of the different missiles--the short t-h-t! t-h-t!
of the rifle balls;
I see the shells exploding, leaving small white clouds--I hear the
great shells shrieking as they pass;
The grape, like the hum and whirr of wind through the trees, (quick,
tumultuous, now the contest rages!)
All the scenes at the batteries themselves rise in detail before me
again; 10
The crashing and smoking--the pride of the men in their pieces;
The chief gunner ranges and sights his piece, and selects a fuse of
the right time;
After firing, I see him lean aside, and look eagerly off to note the
effect;
--Elsewhere I hear the cry of a regiment charging--(the young colonel
leads himself this time, with brandish'd sword;)
I see the gaps cut by the enemy's volleys, (quickly fill'd up, no
delay;)
I breathe the suffocating smoke--then the flat clouds hover low,
concealing all;
Now a strange lull comes for a few seconds, not a shot fired on
either side;
Then resumed, the chaos louder than ever, with eager calls, and
orders of officers;
While from some distant part of the field the wind wafts to my ears a
shout of applause, (some special success;)
And ever the sound of the cannon, far or near, (rousing, even in
dreams, a devilish exultation, and all the old mad joy, in the
depths of my soul;) 20
And ever the hastening of infantry shifting positions--batteries,
cavalry, moving hither and thither;
(The falling, dying, I heed not--the wounded, dripping and red, I
heed not--some to the rear are hobbling;)
Grime, heat, rush--aid-de-camps galloping by, or on a full run;
With the patter of small arms, the warning s-s-t of the rifles,
(these in my vision I hear or see,)
And bombs busting in air, and at night the vari-color'd rockets.
 
Walt Whitman

Read more: warning poems, success poems, wind poems, pride poems, red poems, sleep poems, joy poems, home poems, dark poems, dream poems, rose poems, running poems, tree poems
   
 

   
   
 

  152.     

There Was A Child Went Forth


THERE was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of
the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red
clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the
mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-
side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the
beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part
of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of
him; 10
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the
esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,
and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the
tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and
girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb,
and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that; 20
They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words--clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor
falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture--the
yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay'd--the sense of what is real--the
thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the curious
whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are not flashes
and specks, what are they? 30
The streets themselves, and the faηades of houses, and goods in the
windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves--the huge crossing at the
ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset--the river
between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of
white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide--the little
boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away
solitary by itself--the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh
and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now
goes, and will always go forth every day.
 
Walt Whitman

Read more: school poems, child poems, father poems, pink poems, sunset poems, anger poems, mother poems, red poems, fish poems, family poems, home poems, birth poems, women poems, city poems, girl poems, winter poems, river poems, beautiful poems, house poems, light poems
   
 
 
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Poems By Poet Walt Whitman