Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman on the garden


To the garden the world anew ascending,
Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding,
The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being,
Curious here behold my resurrection after slumber,
The revolving cycles in their wide sweep having brought me again,
Amorous, mature, all beautiful to me, all wondrous,
My limbs and the quivering fire that ever plays through them, for

reasons, most wondrous,

Existing I peer and penetrate still,
Content with the present, content with the past,
By my side or back of me Eve following,
Or in front, and I following her just the same.
Walt Whitman in the beginning of his poem “Children of Adam” in Leaves of Grass: Including Sands at Seventy, Good Bye My Fancy Old Age Echoes, and A Backward Glance O’er Travel’d Roads, (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1904), p. 79. First published (Brooklyn, New York: 1855).

Walt Whitman’s “As I Ponder’d in Silence”

As I ponder’d in silence,
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long,
A Phantom arose before me with distrustful aspect,
Terrible in beauty, age, and power,
The genius of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame its eyes,
With finger pointing to many immortal songs,
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said,
Know’st thou not there is but one theme for ever-enduring bards?
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers.

Be it so, then I answer’d,
I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance and retreat, victory deferr’d and wavering,
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world,
For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul,
Lo, I too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
I above all promote brave soldiers.
Walt Whitman‘s poem “As I Ponder’d in Silence”. Published as an inscription in Leaves of Grass, (Boston, Massachusetts: Small, Maynard & Company, 1897), p. 9. First published (Brooklyn, New York: 1855).