Year Of Meteors, 1859 '60

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

   YEAR of meteors! brooding year!
   I would bind in words retrospective, some of your deeds and signs;
   I would sing your contest for the 19th Presidentiad;
   I would sing how an old man, tall, with white hair, mounted the
         scaffold in Virginia;
   (I was at hand--silent I stood, with teeth shut close--I watch'd;
   I stood very near you, old man, when cool and indifferent, but
         trembling with age and your unheal'd wounds, you mounted the
   --I would sing in my copious song your census returns of The States,
   The tables of population and products--I would sing of your ships and
         their cargoes,
   The proud black ships of Manhattan, arriving, some fill'd with
         immigrants, some from the isthmus with cargoes of gold;
   Songs thereof would I sing--to all that hitherward comes would I
         welcome give;                                                10
   And you would I sing, fair stripling! welcome to you from me, sweet
         boy of England!
   Remember you surging Manhattan's crowds, as you pass'd with your
         cortege of nobles?
   There in the crowds stood I, and singled you out with attachment;
   I know not why, but I loved you... (and so go forth little song,
   Far over sea speed like an arrow, carrying my love all folded,
   And find in his palace the youth I love, and drop these lines at his
   --Nor forget I to sing of the wonder, the ship as she swam up my bay,
   Well-shaped and stately the Great Eastern swam up my bay, she was 600
         feet long,
   Her, moving swiftly, surrounded by myriads of small craft, I forget
         not to sing;
   --Nor the comet that came unannounced out of the north, flaring in
         heaven;                                                      20
   Nor the strange huge meteor procession, dazzling and clear, shooting
         over our heads,
   (A moment, a moment long, it sail'd its balls of unearthly light over
         our heads,
   Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone;)
   --Of such, and fitful as they, I sing--with gleams from them would I
         gleam and patch these chants;
   Your chants, O year all mottled with evil and good! year of
         forebodings! year of the youth I love!
   Year of comets and meteors transient and strange!--lo! even here, one
         equally transient and strange!
   As I flit through you hastily, soon to fall and be gone, what is this
   What am I myself but one of your meteors?

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on April 01, 2023

2:01 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 2,483
Words 398
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 46

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 Year Of Meteors, 1859 '60 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:


    "Year Of Meteors, 1859 '60" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <,-1859-'60>.

    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!



    Are you a poetry master?

    From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s The Test, “Sunshine cannot _____ the snow, Nor time unmake what poets know.
    A reach
    B leach
    C bleach
    D beseech