Monthly Archives: March 2015

Daily Whitman

05Fruited Plain

The Return of the Heroes

  Fecund America—today,
  Thou art all over set in births and joys!
  Thou groan'st with riches, thy wealth clothes thee as a swathing-garment,
  Thou laughest loud with ache of great possessions,
  A myriad-twining life like interlacing vines binds all thy vast demesne,
  As some huge ship freighted to water's edge thou ridest into port,
  As rain falls from the heaven and vapors rise from earth, so have
      the precious values fallen upon thee and risen out of thee;
  Thou envy of the globe! thou miracle!
  Thou, bathed, choked, swimming in plenty,
  Thou lucky Mistress of the tranquil barns,
  Thou Prairie Dame that sittest in the middle and lookest out upon
      thy world, and lookest East and lookest West,
  Dispensatress, that by a word givest a thousand miles, a million
      farms, and missest nothing,
  Thou all-acceptress—thou hospitable, (thou only art hospitable as
      God is hospitable.)


Daily Whitman


The Return of the Heroes

  Ever upon this stage,
  Is acted God's calm annual drama,
  Gorgeous processions, songs of birds,
  Sunrise that fullest feeds and freshens most the soul,
  The heaving sea, the waves upon the shore, the musical, strong waves,
  The woods, the stalwart trees, the slender, tapering trees,
  The liliput countless armies of the grass,
  The heat, the showers, the measureless pasturages,
  The scenery of the snows, the winds' free orchestra,
  The stretching light-hung roof of clouds, the clear cerulean and the
      silvery fringes,
  The high-dilating stars, the placid beckoning stars,
  The moving flocks and herds, the plains and emerald meadows,
  The shows of all the varied lands and all the growths and products.

Daily Whitman


The Return of the Heroes

  For the lands and for these passionate days and for myself,
  Now I awhile retire to thee O soil of autumn fields,
  Reclining on thy breast, giving myself to thee,
  Answering the pulses of thy sane and equable heart,
  Turning a verse for thee.

  O earth that hast no voice, confide to me a voice,
  O harvest of my lands—O boundless summer growths,
  O lavish brown parturient earth—O infinite teeming womb,
  A song to narrate thee.

Daily Whitman



As Consequent, Etc.

  As consequent from store of summer rains,
  Or wayward rivulets in autumn flowing,
  Or many a herb-lined brook's reticulations,
  Or subterranean sea-rills making for the sea,
  Songs of continued years I sing.

  Life's ever-modern rapids first, (soon, soon to blend,
  With the old streams of death.)

  Some threading Ohio's farm-fields or the woods,
  Some down Colorado's canons from sources of perpetual snow,
  Some half-hid in Oregon, or away southward in Texas,
  Some in the north finding their way to Erie, Niagara, Ottawa,
  Some to Atlantica's bays, and so to the great salt brine.

  In you whoe'er you are my book perusing,
  In I myself, in all the world, these currents flowing,
  All, all toward the mystic ocean tending.

  Currents for starting a continent new,
  Overtures sent to the solid out of the liquid,
  Fusion of ocean and land, tender and pensive waves,
  (Not safe and peaceful only, waves rous'd and ominous too,
  Out of the depths the storm's abysmic waves, who knows whence?
  Raging over the vast, with many a broken spar and tatter'd sail.)

  Or from the sea of Time, collecting vasting all, I bring,
  A windrow-drift of weeds and shells.

  O little shells, so curious-convolute, so limpid-cold and voiceless,
  Will you not little shells to the tympans of temples held,
  Murmurs and echoes still call up, eternity's music faint and far,
  Wafted inland, sent from Atlantica's rim, strains for the soul of
      the prairies,
  Whisper'd reverberations, chords for the ear of the West joyously sounding,
  Your tidings old, yet ever new and untranslatable,
  Infinitesimals out of my life, and many a life,
  (For not my life and years alone I give—all, all I give,)
  These waifs from the deep, cast high and dry,
  Wash'd on America's shores?

Daily Whitman



  Let that which stood in front go behind,
  Let that which was behind advance to the front,
  Let bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions,
  Let the old propositions be postponed,
  Let a man seek pleasure everywhere except in himself,
  Let a woman seek happiness everywhere except in herself

Daily Whitman


By Blue Ontario’s Shore

  O my rapt verse, my call, mock me not!
  Not for the bards of the past, not to invoke them have I launch'd
      you forth,
  Not to call even those lofty bards here by Ontario's shores,
  Have I sung so capricious and loud my savage song.

  Bards for my own land only I invoke,
  (For the war the war is over, the field is clear'd,)
  Till they strike up marches henceforth triumphant and onward,
  To cheer O Mother your boundless expectant soul.

  Bards of the great Idea! bards of the peaceful inventions! (for the
      war, the war is over!)
  Yet bards of latent armies, a million soldiers waiting ever-ready,
  Bards with songs as from burning coals or the lightning's fork'd stripes!
  Ample Ohio's, Kanada's bards—bards of California! inland bards—
      bards of the war!
  You by my charm I invoke.


Daily Whitman


By Blue Ontario’s Shore

  Thus by blue Ontario's shore,
  While the winds fann'd me and the waves came trooping toward me,
  I thrill'd with the power's pulsations, and the charm of my theme
      was upon me,
  Till the tissues that held me parted their ties upon me.

  And I saw the free souls of poets,
  The loftiest bards of past ages strode before me,
  Strange large men, long unwaked, undisclosed, were disclosed to me.

Daily Whitman


By Blue Ontario’s Shore

  I will confront these shows of the day and night,
  I will know if I am to be less than they,
  I will see if I am not as majestic as they,
  I will see if I am not as subtle and real as they,
  I will see if I am to be less generous than they,
  I will see if I have no meaning, while the houses and ships have meaning,
  I will see if the fishes and birds are to be enough for themselves,
      and I am not to be enough for myself.

  I match my spirit against yours you orbs, growths, mountains, brutes,
  Copious as you are I absorb you all in myself, and become the master myself,
  America isolated yet embodying all, what is it finally except myself?
  These States, what are they except myself?

  I know now why the earth is gross, tantalizing, wicked, it is for my sake,
  I take you specially to be mine, you terrible, rude forms.
  (Mother, bend down, bend close to me your face,
  I know not what these plots and wars and deferments are for,
  I know not fruition's success, but I know that through war and crime
      your work goes on, and must yet go on.)

Daily Whitman


By Blue Ontario’s Shore

  O I see flashing that this America is only you and me,
  Its power, weapons, testimony, are you and me,
  Its crimes, lies, thefts, defections, are you and me,
  Its Congress is you and me, the officers, capitols, armies, ships,
      are you and me,
  Its endless gestations of new States are you and me,
  The war, (that war so bloody and grim, the war I will henceforth
      forget), was you and me,
  Natural and artificial are you and me,
  Freedom, language, poems, employments, are you and me,
  Past, present, future, are you and me.

  I dare not shirk any part of myself,
  Not any part of America good or bad,
  Not to build for that which builds for mankind,
  Not to balance ranks, complexions, creeds, and the sexes,
  Not to justify science nor the march of equality,
  Nor to feed the arrogant blood of the brawn belov'd of time.

  I am for those that have never been master'd,
  For men and women whose tempers have never been master'd,
  For those whom laws, theories, conventions, can never master.

  I am for those who walk abreast with the whole earth,
  Who inaugurate one to inaugurate all.

  I will not be outfaced by irrational things,
  I will penetrate what it is in them that is sarcastic upon me,
  I will make cities and civilizations defer to me,
  This is what I have learnt from America—it is the amount, and it I
      teach again.

  (Democracy, while weapons were everywhere aim'd at your breast,
  I saw you serenely give birth to immortal children, saw in dreams
      your dilating form,
  Saw you with spreading mantle covering the world.)


Daily Whitman


By Blue Ontario’s Shore

  Underneath all, Nativity,
  I swear I will stand by my own nativity, pious or impious so be it;
  I swear I am charm'd with nothing except nativity,
  Men, women, cities, nations, are only beautiful from nativity.

  Underneath all is the Expression of love for men and women,
  (I swear I have seen enough of mean and impotent modes of expressing
      love for men and women,
  After this day I take my own modes of expressing love for men and
      women.) in myself,

  I swear I will have each quality of my race in myself,
  (Talk as you like, he only suits these States whose manners favor
      the audacity and sublime turbulence of the States.)

  Underneath the lessons of things, spirits, Nature, governments,
      ownerships, I swear I perceive other lessons,
  Underneath all to me is myself, to you yourself, (the same
      monotonous old song.)