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About this Poem 

“Song of the Open Road, IV” was published in Leaves of Grass (David McKay, 1891-92).

Song of the Open Road, IV

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is      not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment       of the road.

O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not—if you leave me you are lost?
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and                   undenied, adhere to me?

O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love       you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem.

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all          free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and                  whoever beholds me shall like me,
I think whoever I see must be happy.


This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass and, along with Emily Dickinson, is considered one of the architects of a uniquely American poetic voice. 

by this poet


That music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning, yet long
      untaught I did not hear,
But now the chorus I hear and am elated,
A tenor, strong, ascending with power and health, with glad notes
      of daybreak I hear,
A soprano at intervals sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense


When I read the book, the biography famous,
And is this then (said I) what the author calls a man’s life?
And so will some one when I am dead and gone write my life?
(As if any man really knew aught my life,
Why even I myself I often think know little or nothing of my real         life,


Written in Platte Cañon, Colorado

Spirit that form'd this scene,
These tumbled rock-piles grim and red,
These reckless heaven-ambitious peaks,
These gorges, turbulent-clear streams, this naked freshness,

These formless wild arrays, for reasons of their own,
I know thee, savage