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

O MATER! O fils!
  O brood continental!
  O flowers of the prairies!
  O space boundless! O hum of mighty products!
  O you teeming cities! O so invincible, turbulent, proud!
  O race of the future! O women!
  O fathers! O you men of passion and the storm!
  O native power only! O beauty!
  O yourself! O God! O divine average!
  O you bearded roughs! O bards! O all those slumberers! 10
  O arouse! the dawn bird's throat sounds shrill! Do you not hear the
  cock crowing?
  O, as I walk'd the beach, I heard the mournful notes foreboding a
  tempest--the low, oft-repeated shriek of the diver, the long-
  lived loon;
  O I heard, and yet hear, angry thunder;--O you sailors! O ships! make
  quick preparation!
  O from his masterful sweep, the warning cry of the eagle!
  (Give way there, all! It is useless! Give up your spoils;)
  O sarcasms! Propositions! (O if the whole world should prove indeed a
  sham, a sell!)
  O I believe there is nothing real but America and freedom!
  O to sternly reject all except Democracy!
  O imperator! O who dare confront you and me?
  O to promulgate our own! O to build for that which builds for
  mankind! 20
  O feuillage! O North! O the slope drained by the Mexican sea!
  O all, all inseparable--ages, ages, ages!
  O a curse on him that would dissever this Union for any reason
  O climates, labors! O good and evil! O death!
  O you strong with iron and wood! O Personality!
  O the village or place which has the greatest man or woman! even if
  it be only a few ragged huts;
  O the city where women walk in public processions in the streets, the
  same as the men;
  O a wan and terrible emblem, by me adopted!
  O shapes arising! shapes of the future centuries!
  O muscle and pluck forever for me! 30
  O workmen and workwomen forever for me!
  O farmers and sailors! O drivers of horses forever for me!
  O I will make the new bardic list of trades and tools!
  O you coarse and wilful! I love you!
  O South! O longings for my dear home! O soft and sunny airs!
  O pensive! O I must return where the palm grows and the mocking-bird
  sings, or else I die!
  O equality! O organic compacts! I am come to be your born poet!
  O whirl, contest, sounding and resounding! I am your poet, because I
  am part of you;
  O days by-gone! Enthusiasts! Antecedents!
  O vast preparations for These States! O years! 40
  O what is now being sent forward thousands of years to come!
  O mediums! O to teach! to convey the invisible faith!
  To promulge real things! to journey through all The States!
  O creation! O to-day! O laws! O unmitigated adoration!
  O for mightier broods of orators, artists, and singers!
  O for native songs! carpenter's, boatman's, ploughman's songs!
  shoemaker's songs!
  O haughtiest growth of time! O free and extatic!
  O what I, here, preparing, warble for!
  O you hastening light! O the sun of the world will ascend, dazzling,
  and take his height--and you too will ascend;
  O so amazing and so broad! up there resplendent, darting and
  burning; 50
  O prophetic! O vision staggered with weight of light! with pouring
  O copious! O hitherto unequalled!
  O Libertad! O compact! O union impossible to dissever!
  O my Soul! O lips becoming tremulous, powerless!
  O centuries, centuries yet ahead!
  O voices of greater orators! I pause--I listen for you
  O you States! Cities! defiant of all outside authority! I spring at
  once into your arms! you I most love!
  O you grand Presidentiads! I wait for you!
  New history! New heroes! I project you!
  Visions of poets! only you really last! O sweep on! sweep on! 60
  O Death! O you striding there! O I cannot yet!
  O heights! O infinitely too swift and dizzy yet!
  O purged lumine! you threaten me more than I can stand!
  O present! I return while yet I may to you!
  O poets to come, I depend upon you!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:28 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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