American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman
American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
There is no week, nor day, nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves - and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.
This hour I tell things in confidence I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.
To behold the day-break! The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows, the air tastes good to my palate. Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising, freshly exuding, scooting obliquely high and low.
Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.
What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, the smallest sprout shows there is really no death, and if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, and ceas'd the moment life appear'd. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, and to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
The great poems, Shakespeare's included, are poisonous to the idea of the pride and dignity of the common man, the life-blood of democracy
The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.
There is that in me—I do not know what it is—but I know it is in me... I do not know it—it is without name—it is a word unsaid, it is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol... Do you see O my brothers and sisters? It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is Happiness.
This is the city, and I am one of the citizens. Whatever interests the rest interests me
To die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
Vigil strange I kept on the field one night; when you my son and my comrade dropt at my side that day, one look I but gave which your dear eyes return'd with a look I shall never forget, one touch of your hand to mine O boy, reach'd up as you lay on the ground.
What is happiness, anyhow? Is this one of its hours - so impalpable - a mere breath, an evanescent tinge? I am not sure - so let me give myself the benefit of the doubt. Hast Thou, pellucid, in thy azure depths, medicine for case like mine.
The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections, they scorn the best I can do to relate to them.
The universe is duly in order, everything in its place.
There is that indescribable freshness and unconsciousness about an illiterate person that humbles and mocks the power of the noblest expressive genius.
This is the female form, vapor, a divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot, it attracts with fierce undeniable attraction, I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it, books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heavaen or fear'd of hell, are now consumed, Mad filament, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable.
To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
What is independence? Freedom from all laws or bonds except those of one's own being, control'd by the universal ones.
The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds — where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough — a modest living— and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.
The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.
The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted, now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.
There is, in sanest hours, a consciousness, a thought that rises, independent, lifted out from all else, calm, like the stars, shining eternal. This is the thought of identity – yours for you, whoever you are, as mine for me. Miracle of miracles, beyond statement, most spiritual and vaguest of earth’s dreams, yet hardest basic fact, and only entrance to all facts. In such devout hours, in the midst of the significant wonders of heaven and earth, (significant only because of the Me in the center), creeds, conventions, fall away and become of no account before this simple idea. Under the luminousness of real vision, it alone takes possession, takes value. Like the shadowy dwarf in the fable, once liberated and look’d upon, it expands over the whole earth, and spreads to the roof of heaven.