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Excerpts from A Song of Joys
by
Walt Whitman


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O the engineer's joys! to go with a locomotive!
To hear the hiss of steam, the merry shriek, the steam-whistle, the
    laughing locomotive!
To push with resistless way and speed off in the distance.

O the gleesome saunter over fields and hillsides!
The leaves and flowers of the commonest weeds, the moist fresh
    stillness of the woods,
The exquisite smell of the earth at daybreak, and all through the forenoon.

O the horseman's and horsewoman's joys!
The saddle, the gallop, the pressure upon the seat, the cool
    gurgling by the ears and hair.

O the orator's joys!
To inflate the chest, to roll the thunder of the voice out from the
    ribs and throat,
To make the people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself,
To lead America--to quell America with a great tongue.

O the farmer's joys!
Ohioan's, Illinoisian's, Wisconsinese', Kanadian's, Iowan's,
    Kansian's, Missourian's, Oregonese' joys!
To rise at peep of day and pass forth nimbly to work,
To plough land in the fall for winter-sown crops,
To plough land in the spring for maize,
To train orchards, to graft the trees, to gather apples in the fall.

O to bathe in the swimming-bath, or in a good place along shore,
To splash the water! to walk ankle-deep, or race naked along the shore.

O to realize space!
The plenteousness of all, that there are no bounds,
To emerge and be of the sky, of the sun and moon and flying
    clouds, as one with them.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892) is primarily known for a collection of poems called Leaves of Grass, which he completely revised at least five times during the course of his life and which appeared in print in at least three different editions. Though his formal education ended with elementary school, Whitman was an educator at several points in his life. More often, he worked as a printer, a clerk, or a nurse; he was chronically poor, but managed to interject culture (he loved opera) and travel into his life. He achieved international acclaim during the course of his career, but probably had as many detractors as he did fans.

 


Post New Comment:
Dorcas:
Wonderful. To wait for the time of choice.
Posted 03/16/2014 11:15 AM
poetronics:
We love you Walt! You are forever...
Posted 03/14/2014 05:01 PM
Sherry:
Yay, Walt Whitman!
Posted 03/14/2014 08:31 AM
dotief@comcast.net:
It is very rich. I love Walt's work!
Posted 03/14/2014 08:27 AM
Katrina:
Oh! To teach the educated so memorably.
Posted 03/14/2014 08:25 AM
Hosea Owen:
I love this poem, realy!
Posted 03/14/2014 07:34 AM


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