More poems and short stories

By Robert Fox,2014-08-18 08:53
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More poems and short stories


    Walt Whitman

    Walter Whitman (May 31, 1819 March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. He was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating

    both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon,

    often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.

Song of Myself


    I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

    And what I assume you shall assume,

    For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,

    I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

    My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air, Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,

    I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,

    Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,

    Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy.

Cavalry Crossing a Ford

    A line in long array where they wind betwixt green islands, They take a serpentine course, their arms flash in the sunhark to the musical clank,

    Behold the silvery river, in it the splashing horses loitering stop to drink, Behold the brown-faced men, each group, each person, a picture, the negligent rest on the saddles,

    Some emerge on the opposite bank, others are just entering the fordwhile,

    Scarlet and blue and snowy white,

    The guidon flags flutter gaily in the wind.

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd


    When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,

    And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,

    I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring, Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west, And thought of him I love.


    O powerful western fallen star!

    O shades of night--O moody, tearful night!

    O great star disappear'd--O the black murk that hides the star! O cruel hands that hold me powerless--O helpless soul of me! O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul. 3

    In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd palings, Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green, With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,

    With every leaf a miracle--and from this bush in the dooryard, With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green, A sprig with its flower I break.


    In the swamp in secluded recesses,

    A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.

    Solitary the thrush,

    The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements, Sings by himself a song.

    Song of the bleeding throat,

    Death's outlet song of life, (for well dear brother I know, If thou wast not granted to sing thou wouldist surely die.) 5

    Over the breast of the spring, the land, amid cities, Amid lanes and through old woods, where lately the violets peep'd from the ground, spotting the gray debris,

    Amid the grass in the fields each side of the lanes, passing the endless grass,

    Passing the yellow-spear'd wheat, every grain from its shroud in the dark-brown fields uprisen,

    Passing the apple-tree blows of white and pink in the orchards, Carrying a corpse to where it shall rest in the grave, Night and day journeys a coffin.


    Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,

    Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land, With the pomp of the inloop'd flags with the cities draped in black, With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil'd women standing, With processions long and winding and the flambeaus of the night,

    With the countless torches lit, with the silent sea of faces and the unbared heads,

    With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces, With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,

    With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour'd around the coffin, The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs--where amid these you journey,

    With the tolling tolling bells' perpetual clang,

    Here, coffin that slowly passes,

    I give you my sprig of lilac.


    (Nor for you, for one alone,

    Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring,

    For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for you O sane and sacred death.

    All over bouquets of roses,

    O death, I cover you over with roses and early lilies, But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first,

    Copious I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes,

    With loaded arms I come, pouring for you,

    For you and the coffins all of you O death.)


    O western orb sailing the heaven,

    Now I know what you must have meant as a month since I walk'd, As I walk'd in silence the transparent shadowy night, As I saw you had something to tell as you bent to me night after night, As you droop'd from the sky low down as if to my side, (while the other stars all look'd on,)

    As we wander'd together the solemn night, (for something I know not what kept me from sleep,)

    As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west how full you were of woe,

    As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze in the cool transparent night,

    As I watch'd where you pass'd and was lost in the netherward black of the night,

    As my soul in its trouble dissatisfied sank, as where you sad orb, Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone.


    Sing on there in the swamp,

    O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your call, I hear, I come presently, I understand you,

    But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain'd me,

The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.


    O how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I loved? And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul that has gone? And what shall my perfume be for the grave of him I love? Sea-winds blown from east and west,

    Blown from the Eastern sea and blown from the Western sea, till there on the prairies meeting,

    These and with these and the breath of my chant,

    I'll perfume the grave of him I love.


    O what shall I hang on the chamber walls?

    And what shall the pictures be that I hang on the walls, To adorn the burial-house of him I love?

    Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,

    With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright, With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air,

    With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific,

    In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a wind-dapple here and there,

    With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky, and shadows,

    And the city at hand with dwellings so dense, and stacks of chimneys, And all the scenes of life and the workshops, and the workmen homeward returning.


    Lo, body and soul--this land,

    My own Manhattan with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships,

    The varied and ample land, the South and the North in the light, Ohio's shores and flashing Missouri,

    And ever the far-spreading prairies cover'd with grass and corn. Lo, the most excellent sun so calm and haughty,

    The violet and purple morn with just-felt breezes,

    The gentle soft-born measureless light,

    The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfill'd noon, The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars, Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.


    Sing on, sing on you gray-brown bird,

    Sing from the swamps, the recesses, pour your chant from the bushes, Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines.

Sing on dearest brother, warble your reedy song,

    Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe.

    O liquid and free and tender!

    O wild and loose to my soul--O wondrous singer!

    You only I hear--yet the star holds me, (but will soon depart,) Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me.


    Now while I sat in the day and look'd forth,

    In the close of the day with its light and the fields of spring, and the farmers preparing their crops,

    In the large unconscious scenery of my land with its lakes and forests, In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturb'd winds and the storms,) Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the voices of children and women,

    The many-moving sea-tides, and I saw the ships how they sail'd, And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy with labor,

    And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with its meals and minutia of daily usages,

    And the streets how their throbbings throbb'd, and the cities pent-- lo, then and there,

    Falling upon them all and among them all, enveloping me with the rest, Appear'd the cloud, appear'd the long black trail,

    And I knew death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death. Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me, And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me, And I in the middle as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions,

    I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not, Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness, To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still. And the singer so shy to the rest receiv'd me,

    The gray-brown bird I know receiv'd us comrades three, And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love. From deep secluded recesses,

    From the fragrant cedars and the ghostly pines so still, Came the carol of the bird.

    And the charm of the carol rapt me,

    As I held as if by their hands my comrades in the night, And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird. Come lovely and soothing death,

    Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each,

    Sooner or later delicate death.

Prais'd be the fathomless universe,

    For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious, And for love, sweet love--but praise! praise! praise! For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death.

    Dark mother always gliding near with soft feet,

    Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome? Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,

    I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly. Approach strong deliveress,

    When it is so, when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the dead, Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee,

    Laved in the flood of thy bliss O death.

    From me to thee glad serenades,

    Dances for thee I propose saluting thee, adornments and feastings for thee,

    And the sights of the open landscape and the high-spread shy are fitting, And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night. The night in silence under many a star,

    The ocean shore and the husky whispering wave whose voice I know, And the soul turning to thee O vast and well-veil'd death, And the body gratefully nestling close to thee.

    Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,

    Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the prairies wide,

    Over the dense-pack'd cities all and the teeming wharves and ways, I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee O death. 15

    To the tally of my soul,

    Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird,

    With pure deliberate notes spreading filling the night. Loud in the pines and cedars dim,

    Clear in the freshness moist and the swamp-perfume,

    And I with my comrades there in the night.

    While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed,

    As to long panoramas of visions.

    And I saw askant the armies,

    I saw as in noiseless dreams hundreds of battle-flags, Borne through the smoke of the battles and pierc'd with missiles I saw them,

    And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn and bloody, And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in silence,) And the staffs all splinter'd and broken.

    I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them,

    And the white skeletons of young men, I saw them,

    I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the war, But I saw they were not as was thought,

    They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer'd not,

    The living remain'd and suffer'd, the mother suffer'd,

    And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer'd, And the armies that remain'd suffer'd.


    Passing the visions, passing the night,

    Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades' hands,

    Passing the song of the hermit bird and the tallying song of my soul, Victorious song, death's outlet song, yet varying ever-altering song, As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling, flooding the night,

    Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and yet again bursting with joy,

    Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven, As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses, Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves,

    I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring. I cease from my song for thee,

    From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee, O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night.

    Yet each to keep and all, retrievements out of the night, The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird,

    And the tallying chant, the echo arous'd in my soul,

    With the lustrous and drooping star with the countenance full of woe, With the holders holding my hand nearing the call of the bird, Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep, for the dead I loved so well,

    For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands--and this for his dear sake,

    Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul, There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.

There Was a Child Went Forth

    There was a child went forth every day;

    And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became; And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,

    And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the


    And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,

And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,

    And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the beautiful curious liquid, And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;

    Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden, And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,

    and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;

    And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,

    And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,

    And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,

    And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and girl,

    And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,

    He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb, and birth'd him, They gave this child more of themselves than that;

    They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;

    The mother with mild words--clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor

    falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;

    The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust;

    The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,

    The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture--the yearning and swelling heart, Affection that will not be gainsay'd--the sense of what is real--the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,

    The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the curious whether and how, Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?

    Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are not flashes and specks, what are they? The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and goods in the windows, Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves--the huge crossing at the ferries, The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset--the river between,

    Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off, The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide--the little boat slack-tow'd astern, The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,

    The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away

    solitary by itself--the spread of purity it lies motionless in,

    The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud; These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

O Captain! my Captain!

O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

    The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! heart! heart!

    O the bleeding drops of red,

    Where on the deck my Captain lies,

    Fallen cold and dead.

    O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

    Rise upfor you the flag is flungfor you the bugle trills;

    For you bouquets and ribboned wreathsfor you the shores a-crowding;

    For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father!

    This arm beneath your head;

    It is some dream that on the deck,

    You‘ve fallen cold and dead.

    My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

    But I, with mournful tread,

    Walk the deck my Captain lies,

    Fallen cold and dead.

    Comment:"O Captain! My Captain!" is an extended metaphor poem written in 1865 by Walt

    Whitman, concerning the death of American president Abraham Lincoln.

    Walt Whitman wrote the poem after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Repeated metaphorical reference is made to this issue throughout the verse. The "ship" spoken of is intended to represent

    the United States of America, while its "fearful trip" recalls the troubles of the American Civil War.

    The titular "Captain" is Lincoln himself.

    With a conventional meter and rhyme scheme that is unusual for Whitman, it was the only poem

    anthologized during Whitman's lifetime.

Emily Dickinson

    Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 May 15, 1886) was an

    American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life.

    After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning

    to her family's house in Amherst. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals,

    she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance

    to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.

Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her [2]nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The

    work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote;

    slant rhyme they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use [3]as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her

    poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.

    Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886when Lavinia, Emily's

    younger sister, discovered her cache of poemsthat the breadth of

    Dickinson's work became apparent. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson

    and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by

    scholar Thomas H. Johnson. Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, critics [4]now consider Dickinson to be a major American poet.

    Dickinson's poems generally fall into three distinct periods, the works in each period having certain general characters in common.

    [124]; Pre-1861. These are often conventional and sentimental in nature.

    Thomas H. Johnson, who later published The Poems of Emily Dickinson, [125]was able to date only five of Dickinson's poems before 1858. Two

    of these are mock valentines done in an ornate and humorous style,

    and two others are conventional lyrics, one of which is about

    missing her brother Austin. The fifth poem, which begins "I have

    a Bird in spring", conveys her grief over the feared loss of [125]friendship and was sent to her friend Sue Gilbert.

    ; 18611865. This was her most creative periodthese poems are more

    vigorous and emotional. Johnson estimated that she composed 86

    poems in 1861, 366 in 1862, 141 in 1863, and 174 in 1864. He also

    believed that this is when she fully developed her themes of life [126]and death.

    ; Post-1866. It is estimated that two-thirds of the entire body of [126]her poetry was written before this year.

    The extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in

    Dickinson's manuscripts, and the idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery,

    combine to create a body of work that is "far more various in its styles [3][127]and forms than is commonly supposed". She did not write in traditional

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