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American Feuillage

Walt Whitman 1819 (West Hills) – 1892 (Camden)




AMERICA always!
Always our own feuillage!
Always Florida's green peninsula! Always the priceless delta of
Louisiana! Always the cotton-fields of Alabama and Texas!
Always California's golden hills and hollows--and the silver
mountains of New Mexico! Always soft-breath'd Cuba!
Always the vast slope drain'd by the Southern Sea--inseparable with
the slopes drain'd by the Eastern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States--the three and a half
millions of square miles;
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the main--
the thirty thousand miles of river navigation,
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same number of
dwellings--Always these, and more, branching forth into
numberless branches;
Always the free range and diversity! always the continent of
Democracy!
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers,
Kanada, the snows; 10
Always these compact lands--lands tied at the hips with the belt
stringing the huge oval lakes;
Always the West, with strong native persons--the increasing density
there--the habitans, friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning
invaders;
All sights, South, North, East--all deeds, promiscuously done at all
times,
All characters, movements, growths--a few noticed, myriads unnoticed,
Through Mannahatta's streets I walking, these things gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots, steamboats
wooding up;
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the valleys
of the Potomac and Rappahannock, and the valleys of the Roanoke
and Delaware;
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks,
the hills--or lapping the Saginaw waters to drink;
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock, sitting on the
water, rocking silently;
In farmers' barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done--they
rest standing--they are too tired; 20
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while her cubs
play around;
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail'd--the farthest polar
sea, ripply, crystalline, open, beyond the floes;
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tempest dashes;
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all strike
midnight together;
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding--the howl of the
wolf, the scream of the panther, and the hoarse bellow of the
elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake--in summer
visible through the clear waters, the great trout swimming;
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the large black
buzzard floating slowly, high beyond the tree tops,
Below, the red cedar, festoon'd with tylandria--the pines and
cypresses, growing out of the white sand that spreads far and
flat;
Rude boats descending the big Pedee--climbing plants, parasites, with
color'd flowers and berries, enveloping huge trees,
The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and low,
noiselessly waved by the wind; 30
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark--the supper-fires, and
the cooking and eating by whites and negroes,
Thirty or forty great wagons--the mules, cattle, horses, feeding from
troughs,
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees--
the flames--with the black smoke from the pitch-pine, curling
and rising;
Southern fishermen fishing--the sounds and inlets of North Carolina's
coast--the shad-fishery and the herring-fishery--the large
sweep-seines--the windlasses on shore work'd by horses--the
clearing, curing, and packing-houses;
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping from the
incisions in the trees--There are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health--the ground in all
directions is cover'd with pine straw:
--In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coalings, at the
forge, by the furnace-blaze, or at the corn-shucking;
In Virginia, the planter's son returning after a long absence,
joyfully welcom'd and kiss'd by the aged mulatto nurse;
On rivers, boat
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:08 min read
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Walt Whitman

Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. more…

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