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!

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 14, 2023

3:28 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 4,145
Words 688
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 81

Walt Whitman

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

All Walt Whitman poems | Walt Whitman Books

35 fans

Discuss the poem Apostroph with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Apostroph" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/37956/apostroph>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    May 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    Who wrote the poem "No Man Is An Island"?
    A John Donne
    B Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    C Ezra Pound
    D Robert Browning