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

Modified on March 14, 2023

3:08 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme Text too long
Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 4,520
Words 614
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 80

Walt Whitman

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

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