A Clear Midnight

Walt Whitman

 
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.
 
About "A Clear Midnight"

This final poem in the section "From Noon to Starry Night" in the seventh edition of Leaves of Grass (1881), is, in the words of Edward Hirsch, "about releasing the soul back into the universe." Hirsch, who has defined a poem as "a soul in action through words," connects Whitman's poem with the essay "The Poet" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a mentor of Whitman's: "Here we find ourselves suddenly, not in a critical speculation, but in a holy place, and should go very warily and reverently."

Poems by This Author

A child said, What is the grass? by Walt Whitman
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider
A Woman Waits for Me by Walt Whitman
A woman waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,
America by Walt Whitman
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
Among the Multitude by Walt Whitman
Among the men and women, the multitude
As I Walk These Broad Majestic Days by Walt Whitman
As I walk these broad majestic days of peace
Calamus [In Paths Untrodden] by Walt Whitman
In paths untrodden
Come Up From the Fields Father by Walt Whitman
Come up from the fields father, here's a letter from our Pete,
Come, said my Soul by Walt Whitman
Come, said my Soul
Continuities by Walt Whitman
Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman
Flood-tide below me! I watch you face to face
Delicate Cluster by Walt Whitman
Delicate cluster! flag of teeming life
Election Day, November, 1884 by Walt Whitman
If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show
Excelsior by Walt Whitman
Who has gone farthest? for I would go farther,
I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
I Sing the Body Electric by Walt Whitman
I sing the body electric,
Mannahatta by Walt Whitman
I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city
Miracles by Walt Whitman
Why, who makes much of a miracle
O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The
O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman
On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman
On the beach at night alone
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking by Walt Whitman
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the Rolling Ocean, the Crowd by Walt Whitman
Out of the rolling ocean, the crowd, came a drop gently to me
Passage to India by Walt Whitman
Singing my days
So Long by Walt Whitman
To conclude—I announce what comes after me
Sometimes with One I Love by Walt Whitman
Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I
Song of Myself, I, II, VI & LII by Walt Whitman
I celebrate myself,
Song of Myself, III by Walt Whitman
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end
Song of Myself, X by Walt Whitman
Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Song of Myself, XI by Walt Whitman
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore
Spirit that Form'd this Scene by Walt Whitman
Spirit that form'd this scene,
Spontaneous Me by Walt Whitman
Spontaneous me, Nature
The Indications [excerpt] by Walt Whitman
The words of the true poems give you more than poems
The Sleepers by Walt Whitman
I wander all night in my vision
The Untold Want by Walt Whitman
The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted
The Wound-Dresser by Walt Whitman
An old man bending I come among new faces
This Compost by Walt Whitman
Something startles me where I thought I was safest
Thoughts by Walt Whitman
OF the visages of things—And of piercing through
To a Locomotive in Winter by Walt Whitman
Thee for my recitative!
To Think of Time by Walt Whitman
To think of time—of all that retrospection
To You by Walt Whitman
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
Unfolded Out of the Folds by Walt Whitman
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman, man comes unfolded, and is always to come unfolded
Washington's Monument, February, 1885 by Walt Whitman
Ah, not this marble, dead and cold
When I Heard at the Close of Day by Walt Whitman
When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv'd
When I Heard the Learned Astronomer by Walt Whitman
When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd by Walt Whitman
When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd
Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand by Walt Whitman
Whoever you are, holding me now in hand
World Below the Brine by Walt Whitman
The world below the brine


Further Reading

Poems about Night
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
by Vachel Lindsay
Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost
At Deep Midnight
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
At Night
by Yone Noguchi
At Night the States
by Alice Notley
Breaking Across Us Now
by Katie Ford
Flying at Night
by Ted Kooser
Hard Night
by Christian Wiman
Hellish Night
by Arthur Rimbaud
Here and Now
by Stephen Dunn
Hymn to the Night
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the City of Night
by John Gould Fletcher
La Noche
by Anselm Hollo
Last
by Maxine Scates
Late Night Ode
by J. D. McClatchy
Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon
Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning
Mother Night
by James Weldon Johnson
Night
by Carsten René Nielsen
Night Air
by C. Dale Young
Night Blooming Jasmine
by Giovanni Pascoli
Night Drafts
by Tony Sanders
Night Funeral in Harlem
by Langston Hughes
Night Songs
by Thomas Kinsella
Nights On The Peninsula
by D. Nurkse
On a Night Like This
by Michael Teig
One Night
by Mathias Svalina
Radar Data #12
by Lytton Smith
Rhapsody on a Windy Night
by T. S. Eliot
Sawdust
by Sharon Bryan
Ships That Pass in the Night
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Summer Night, Riverside
by Sara Teasdale
Summer Stars
by Carl Sandburg
The First Night
by Billy Collins
The Sun Has Long Been Set
by William Wordsworth
To Night
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Unity
by Pablo Neruda
Window
by Carl Sandburg
Poems About Outer Space
Back Yard
by Carl Sandburg
Bright Star
by John Keats
Comet Hyakutake
by Arthur Sze
I'm Over the Moon
by Brenda Shaughnessy
Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon
Mars Poetica
by Wyn Cooper
Moon Gathering
by Eleanor Wilner
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck (Sonnet 14)
by William Shakespeare
Now that no one looking
by Adam Kirsch
Orion
by Susan Gevirtz
She Walks in Beauty
by George Gordon Byron
Sky
by Anzhelina Polonskaya
Skylab
by Rolf Jacobsen
Star Quilt
by Roberta J. Hill
Starlight
by William Meredith
The Falling Star
by Sara Teasdale
The Star
by Jane Taylor
The Truth About Northern Lights
by Christine Hume
To the Moon [fragment]
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Yellow Stars and Ice
by Susan Stewart