A poem by Walt Whitman
, from Leaves of Grass
. The first part always reminds me of a hymn, but then all of Whitman's poems are reverent in their own areligious way.
Rise O days from your fathomless deeps, till you loftier,
Long for my soul hungering gymnastic I devour'd what the
earth gave me,
Long I roam'd the woods of the north, long I watch'd
I travel'd the prairies over and slept on their breast, I cross'd
the Nevadas, I cross'd the plateaus,
I ascended the towering rocks along the Pacific, I sail'd out
I sail'd through the storm, I was refresh'd by the storm,
I watch'd with joy the threatening maws of the waves,
I mark'd the white combs where they career'd so high, curling
I heard the wind piping, I saw the black clouds,
Saw from below what arose and mounted, (O superb! O
wild as my heart, and powerful!)
Heard the continuous thunder as it bellow'd after the
Noted the slender and jagged threads of lightning as sudden
and fast amid the din they chased each other across the
These, and such as these, I, elate, saw - saw with wonder, yet
pensive and masterful,
All the menacing might of the globe uprisen around me,
Yet there with my soul I fed, I fed content, supercilious.
'Twas well, O soul - 'twas a good preparation you gave me,
Now we advance our latent and ampler hunger to fill,
Now we go forth to receive what the earth and the sea never gave us,
Not through the mighty woods we go, but through the
Something for us is pouring now more than Niagara pouring,
Torrents of men, (sources and rills of the Northwest are you
What, to pavements and homesteads here, what were those
storms of the mountains and sea?
What, to passions I witness around me to-day? was the sea
Was the wind piping the pipe of death under the black clouds?
Lo! from deeps more unfathomable, something more deadly
Manhattan rising, advancing with menacing front - Cincinnati,
What was that swell I saw on the ocean? behold what comes here,
How it climbs with daring feet and hands - how it dashes!
How the true thunder bellows after the lightning - how
bright the flashes of lightning!
How Democracy with desperate vengeful port strides on,
shown through the dark by those flashes of lightning!
(Yet a mournful wail and low sob I fancied I heard through
In a lull of the deafening confusion.)
Thunder on! stride on, Democracy! strike with vengeful
And do you rise higher than ever yet O days, O cities!
Crash heavier, heavier yet O storms! you have done me
My soul prepared in the mountains absorbs your immortal
Long had I walk'd my cities, my country roads through
farms, only half satisfied,
One doubt nauseous undulating like a snake, crawl'd on the
ground before me,
Continually preceding my steps, turning upon me oft, ironically
The cities I love so well I abandon'd and left, I sped to the
certainties suitable to me,
Hungering, hungering, hungering, for primal energies and
I refresh'd myself with it only, I could relish it only,
I waited the bursting forth of the pent fire - on the water and
air I waited long;
But now I no longer wait, I am fully satisfied, I am glutted,
I have witness'd the true lightning, I have witness'd my cities
I have lived to behold man burst forth and warlike America
Hence I will seek no more the food of the northern solitary
No more the mountains roam or sail the stormy sea.