Sunday, July 7, 2013

Poetry Sunday: I Hear America Singing

In honor of the nation's birthday a few days ago, this week let's hear from that most American of poets, Walt Whitman, and his hymn to his native land. This is the 1867 version of the poem, the one that most of us know, that appeared in Leaves of Grass.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

                       I Hear America Singing.
    I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
    Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
              and strong,
    The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
    The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
              work,
    The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
              hand singing on the steamboat deck,
    The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
              as he stands,
    The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn-
              ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
    The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
              or of the girl sewing or washing,
    Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
    The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
              fellows, robust, friendly,
    Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

2 comments:

  1. I know he's famous Dorothy but this doesn't really grab me for some reason....

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    1. It is really quintessentially American and not current day American but 19th century culture in America, so it has to be appreciated on that level. It's a historical artifact.

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