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Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass...
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FURTHER READING
Carpe Diem
A Shropshire Lad, II
by A. E. Housman
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [All the world's a stage]
by William Shakespeare
Three Airs for the Beggar’s Opera, Air XXII
by John Gay
Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene III [O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?]
by William Shakespeare
A Psalm of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A Song On the End of the World
by Czeslaw Milosz
Another Song [Are they shadows that we see?]
by Samuel Daniel
Anything Can Happen
by Seamus Heaney
Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Barter
by Sara Teasdale
Be Drunk
by Charles Baudelaire
Carpe Diem: Poems for Making the Most of Time
Daphnis and Chloe
by Haniel Long
Days
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dreams
by Langston Hughes
Exact
by Rae Armantrout
First Fig
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I Have News for You
by Tony Hoagland
I saw a man pursuing the horizon
by Stephen Crane
I tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl (443)
by Emily Dickinson
If—
by Rudyard Kipling
Live Blindly and Upon the Hour
by Trumbull Stickney
My life closed twice before its close (96)
by Emily Dickinson
My life has been the poem I would have writ
by Henry David Thoreau
O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman
O, Gather Me the Rose
by William Ernest Henley
Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.
by Noah Eli Gordon
Song to Celia
by Ben Jonson
Thanatopsis
by William Cullen Bryant
the gate
by Tadeusz Różewicz
The Layers
by Stanley Kunitz
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
To His Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell
To Rosa
by Abraham Lincoln
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
by Robert Herrick
Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam
by Ernest Dowson
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths
by Philip James Bailey
When I consider every thing that grows (Sonnet 15)
by William Shakespeare
You Can't Have It All
by Barbara Ras
American Revolution
America, a Prophecy, Plates 3 and 4
by William Blake
A Farewell to America
by Phillis Wheatley
A Nation's Strength
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Political Litany
by Philip Freneau
America
by Walt Whitman
American Liberty
by Philip Freneau
Daniel Boone
by Stephen Vincent Benét
England in 1819
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
His Excellency General Washington
by Phillis Wheatley
I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman
Occasioned by General Washington's Arrival in Philadelphia, On His Way to His Residence in Virginia
by Philip Freneau
On Being Brought from Africa to America
by Phillis Wheatley
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poems of the American Revolution
The Star-Spangled Banner
by Francis Scott Key
To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth
by Phillis Wheatley
When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd
by Walt Whitman
Related Prose
An Anatomy of the Long Poem
by Rachel Zucker
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Song of Myself, III

 
by Walt Whitman
read by Lucille Clifton

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
   beginning and the end
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and
   increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of
   life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is
   so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well
   entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not
   my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they
   discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty
   and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
   less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied—I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the
   night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread.
Leaving me baskets cover'd with white towels swelling the house
   with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my
   eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is
   ahead?





Audio Clip
May 26, 1992
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
From the Academy Audio Archive
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