Daily Whitman


Song of the Broad-Axe

  (America! I do not vaunt my love for you,
  I have what I have.)

  The axe leaps!
  The solid forest gives fluid utterances,
  They tumble forth, they rise and form,
  Hut, tent, landing, survey,
  Flail, plough, pick, crowbar, spade,
  Shingle, rail, prop, wainscot, lamb, lath, panel, gable,
  Citadel, ceiling, saloon, academy, organ, exhibition-house, library,
  Cornice, trellis, pilaster, balcony, window, turret, porch,
  Hoe, rake, pitchfork, pencil, wagon, staff, saw, jack-plane, mallet,
      wedge, rounce,
  Chair, tub, hoop, table, wicket, vane, sash, floor,
  Work-box, chest, string'd instrument, boat, frame, and what not,
  Capitols of States, and capitol of the nation of States,
  Long stately rows in avenues, hospitals for orphans or for the poor or sick,
  Manhattan steamboats and clippers taking the measure of all seas.

  The shapes arise!
  Shapes of the using of axes anyhow, and the users and all that
      neighbors them,
  Cutters down of wood and haulers of it to the Penobscot or Kenebec,
  Dwellers in cabins among the Californian mountains or by the little
      lakes, or on the Columbia,
  Dwellers south on the banks of the Gila or Rio Grande, friendly
      gatherings, the characters and fun,
  Dwellers along the St. Lawrence, or north in Kanada, or down by the
      Yellowstone, dwellers on coasts and off coasts,
  Seal-fishers, whalers, arctic seamen breaking passages through the ice.

  The shapes arise!
  Shapes of factories, arsenals, foundries, markets,
  Shapes of the two-threaded tracks of railroads,
  Shapes of the sleepers of bridges, vast frameworks, girders, arches,
  Shapes of the fleets of barges, tows, lake and canal craft, river craft,
  Ship-yards and dry-docks along the Eastern and Western seas, and in
      many a bay and by-place,
  The live-oak kelsons, the pine planks, the spars, the
      hackmatack-roots for knees,
  The ships themselves on their ways, the tiers of scaffolds, the
      workmen busy outside and inside,
  The tools lying around, the great auger and little auger, the adze,
      bolt, line, square, gouge, and bead-plane.

Posted on 04/10/2014, in literature, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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