Two Poems by Walt Whitman
Out of the rolling ocean the crowd…
Out of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me,
Whispering, I love you, before long I die,
I have travell’d a long way merely to look on you to touch you,
For I could not die till I once look’d on you,
For I fear’d I might afterward lose you.
Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe,
Return in peace to the ocean my love,
I too am part of that ocean, my love, we are not so much separated,
Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect!
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us,
As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse forever;
Be not impatient – a little space – know you I salute the air, the ocean and the land,
Every day at sundown for your dear sake, my love.
In Cabin’d Ships at Sea
In cabin’d ships, at sea,
The boundless blue on every side expanding,
With whistling winds and music of the waves—the large imperious waves—In such,
Or some lone bark, buoy’d on the dense marine,
Where, joyous, full of faith, spreading white sails,
She cleaves the ether, mid the sparkle and the foam of day, or under many a star at night,
By sailors young and old, haply will I, a reminiscence of the land, be read,
In full rapport at last.
Here are our thoughts—voyagers’ thoughts,
Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by them be said;
The sky o’erarches here—we feel the undulating deck beneath our feet,
We feel the long pulsation—ebb and flow of endless motion;
The tones of unseen mystery—the vague and vast suggestions of the briny world—the liquid-flowing syllables,
The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy rhythm,
The boundless vista, and the horizon far and dim, are all here,
And this is Ocean’s poem.
Then falter not, O book! fulfil your destiny!
You, not a reminiscence of the land alone,
You too, as a lone bark, cleaving the ether—purpos’d I know
not whither—yet ever full of faith,
Consort to every ship that sails—sail you!
Bear forth to them, folded, my love—(Dear mariners! for you I fold it here, in every leaf;)
Speed on, my Book! spread your white sails, my little bark, athwart the imperious waves!
Chant on—sail on—bear o’er the boundless blue, from me, to every shore,
This song for mariners and all their ships.
Poems first published in Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, 1855
About the Author:
Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist.