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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
  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
  All sights, South, North, East--all deeds, promiscuously done at all
  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
  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
  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
  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

Walt Whitman

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

All Walt Whitman poems | Walt Whitman Books

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