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Best Famous Walt Whitman Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Walt Whitman poems. This is a select list of the best famous Walt Whitman poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Walt Whitman poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of walt whitman poems.

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by Walt Whitman | |

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd 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 up- for you the flag is flung- for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for 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 anchor'd 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.


by Walt Whitman | |

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 deckhand 
singing on the steamboat deck, 
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands, 
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, 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.


by Walt Whitman | |

A Noiseless Patient Spider

A noiseless patient spider,
I marked where on a promontory it stood isolated,
Marked how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launched forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them, Till the bridge you will need be formed, till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.


More great poems below...

by Allen Ginsberg | |

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit- 
man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees 
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam- ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons? I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel? I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight? (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.
) Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage- teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


by Ezra Pound | |

A Pact

 I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman-- 
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child Who has had a pig-headed father; I am old enough now to make friends.
It was you that broke the new wood, Now is a time for carving.
We have one sap and one root-- Let there be commerce between us.


by Barry Tebb | |

LETTER TO MICHAEL HOROVITZ

 It is time after thirty years

We had our Poetry Renaissance

Rise, Children of Albion, rise!

It is time after nightmares of sleep

When we walked the streets of inner cities

Our poems among the burnt-out houses

And cars, whispering compassion

To the addicts shaking and the homeless

Waking and those who have come apart

In the nowhere of today

Begging in stations

Sleeping in boxes.
It is time to find Our lost, those children I taught three decades ago To paint on ceilings With sticks of incense Rainbows of silence For John Cage To write on walls In luminous paint Pink haiku For Allen Ginsberg.
It is time to awaken and emblazon the sky With symphonies of sorrow, To draft the articles of war.
Poets of the Underground The doors have opened The ghost of Walt Whitman Grey-bearded, in lonely anguish Walks with us.


by Edwin Arlington Robinson | |

Walt Whitman

 The master-songs are ended, and the man
That sang them is a name.
And so is God A name; and so is love, and life, and death, And everything.
But we, who are too blind To read what we have written, or what faith Has written for us, do not understand: We only blink, and wonder.
Last night it was the song that was the man, But now it is the man that is the song.
We do not hear him very much to-day: His piercing and eternal cadence rings Too pure for us --- too powerfully pure, Too lovingly triumphant, and too large; But there are some that hear him, and they know That he shall sing to-morrow for all men, And that all time shall listen.
The master-songs are ended? Rather say No songs are ended that are ever sung, And that no names are dead names.
When we write Men's letters on proud marble or on sand, We write them there forever.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Cosmopolitan Greetings

 To Struga Festival Golden Wreath Laureates
 & International Bards 1986

Stand up against governments, against God.
Stay irresponsible.
Say only what we know & imagine.
Absolutes are coercion.
Change is absolute.
Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions.
Observe what's vivid.
Notice what you notice.
Catch yourself thinking.
Vividness is self-selecting.
If we don't show anyone, we're free to write anything.
Remember the future.
Advise only yourself.
Don't drink yourself to death.
Two molecules clanking against each other requires an observer to become scientific data.
The measuring instrument determines the appearance of the phenomenal world after Einstein.
The universe is subjective.
Walt Whitman celebrated Person.
We Are an observer, measuring instrument, eye, subject, Person.
Universe is person.
Inside skull vast as outside skull.
Mind is outer space.
"Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound.
" First thought, best thought.
Mind is shapely, Art is shapely.
Maximum information, minimum number of syllables.
Syntax condensed, sound is solid.
Intense fragments of spoken idiom, best.
Consonants around vowels make sense.
Savor vowels, appreciate consonants.
Subject is known by what she sees.
Others can measure their vision by what we see.
Candor ends paranoia.
Kral Majales June 25, 1986 Boulder, Colorado


by Walt Whitman | |

Others may Praise what They Like.

 OTHERS may praise what they like; 
But I, from the banks of the running Missouri, praise nothing, in art, or aught else, 
Till it has well inhaled the atmosphere of this river—also the western prairie-scent,

And fully exudes it again.


by Walt Whitman | |

World Take Good Notice.

 WORLD, take good notice, silver stars fading, 
Milky hue ript, weft of white detaching, 
Coals thirty-eight, baleful and burning, 
Scarlet, significant, hands off warning, 
Now and henceforth flaunt from these shores.
5


by Walt Whitman | |

As the Time Draws Nigh.

 1
AS the time draws nigh, glooming, a cloud, 
A dread beyond, of I know not what, darkens me.
I shall go forth, I shall traverse The States awhile—but I cannot tell whither or how long; Perhaps soon, some day or night while I am singing, my voice will suddenly cease.
2 O book, O chants! must all then amount to but this? Must we barely arrive at this beginning of us?.
.
.
And yet it is enough, O soul! O soul! we have positively appear’d—that is enough.


by Walt Whitman | |

To a Historian.

 YOU who celebrate bygones! 
Who have explored the outward, the surfaces of the races—the life that has
 exhibited itself; 
Who have treated of man as the creature of politics, aggregates, rulers and
 priests; 
I, habitan of the Alleghanies, treating of him as he is in himself, in his own
 rights, 
Pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited itself, (the great
 pride of man in himself;)
Chanter of Personality, outlining what is yet to be, 
I project the history of the future.


by Walt Whitman | |

To Foreign Lands.

 I HEARD that you ask’d for something to prove this puzzle, the New World, 
And to define America, her athletic Democracy; 
Therefore I send you my poems, that you behold in them what you wanted.


by Walt Whitman | |

When I read the Book.

 WHEN I read the book, the biography famous, 
And is this, then, (said I,) what the author calls a man’s life? 
And so will some one, when I am dead and gone, write my life? 
(As if any man really knew aught of my life; 
Why, even I myself, I often think, know little or nothing of my real life;
Only a few hints—a few diffused, faint clues and indirections, 
I seek, for my own use, to trace out here.
)


by Walt Whitman | |

For Him I Sing.

 FOR him I sing, 
(As some perennial tree, out of its roots, the present on the past:) 
With time and space I him dilate—and fuse the immortal laws, 
To make himself, by them, the law unto himself.


by Walt Whitman | |

To You.

 STRANGER! if you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak to me, why should you
 not speak to me? 
And why should I not speak to you?


by Walt Whitman | |

One’s-Self I Sing.

 ONE’S-SELF I sing—a simple, separate Person; 
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-masse.
Of Physiology from top to toe I sing; Not physiognomy alone, nor brain alone, is worthy for the muse—I say the Form complete is worthier far; The Female equally with the male I sing.
Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, Cheerful—for freest action form’d, under the laws divine, The Modern Man I sing.


by Walt Whitman | |

O Me! O Life!

 O ME! O life!.
.
.
of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.


by Walt Whitman | |

As I Ponder’d in Silence.

 1
AS I ponder’d in silence, 
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long, 
A Phantom arose before me, with distrustful aspect, 
Terrible in beauty, age, and power, 
The genius of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame its eyes, 
With finger pointing to many immortal songs, 
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said; 
Know’st thou not, there is but one theme for ever-enduring bards? 
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers? 

2
Be it so, then I answer’d, 
I too, haughty Shade, also sing war—and a longer and greater one than
 any, 
Waged in my book with varying fortune—with flight, advance, and
 retreat—Victory deferr’d and wavering, 
(Yet, methinks, certain, or as good as certain, at the last,)—The
 field the world;
For life and death—for the Body, and for the eternal Soul, 
Lo! too am come, chanting the chant of battles, 
I, above all, promote brave soldiers.


by Walt Whitman | |

Tears.

 TEARS! tears! tears! 
In the night, in solitude, tears; 
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck’d in by the sand; 
Tears—not a star shining—all dark and desolate; 
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head:
—O who is that ghost?—that form in the dark, with tears? 
What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouch’d there on the sand? 
Streaming tears—sobbing tears—throes, choked with wild cries; 
O storm, embodied, rising, careering, with swift steps along the beach; 
O wild and dismal night storm, with wind! O belching and desperate!
O shade, so sedate and decorous by day, with calm countenance and regulated pace; 
But away, at night, as you fly, none looking—O then the unloosen’d ocean, 
Of tears! tears! tears!


by Walt Whitman | |

Adieu to a Soldier.

 ADIEU, O soldier! 
You of the rude campaigning, (which we shared,) 
The rapid march, the life of the camp, 
The hot contention of opposing fronts—the long manoeuver, 
Red battles with their slaughter,—the stimulus—the strong, terrific game,
Spell of all brave and manly hearts—the trains of Time through you, and like of you,
 all
 fill’d, 
With war, and war’s expression.
Adieu, dear comrade! Your mission is fulfill’d—but I, more warlike, Myself, and this contentious soul of mine, Still on our own campaigning bound, Through untried roads, with ambushes, opponents lined, Through many a sharp defeat and many a crisis—often baffled, Here marching, ever marching on, a war fight out—aye here, To fiercer, weightier battles give expression.


by Walt Whitman | |

Thoughts.

 OF Public Opinion; 
Of a calm and cool fiat, sooner or later, (How impassive! How certain and final!) 
Of the President with pale face, asking secretly to himself, What will the people say
 at
 last? 
Of the frivolous Judge—Of the corrupt Congressman, Governor, Mayor—Of such as
 these,
 standing helpless and exposed; 
Of the mumbling and screaming priest—(soon, soon deserted;)
Of the lessening, year by year, of venerableness, and of the dicta of officers, statutes,
 pulpits, schools; 
Of the rising forever taller and stronger and broader, of the intuitions of men and women,
 and
 of self-esteem, and of personality; 
—Of the New World—Of the Democracies, resplendent, en-masse; 
Of the conformity of politics, armies, navies, to them and to me, 
Of the shining sun by them—Of the inherent light, greater than the rest,
Of the envelopment of all by them, and of the effusion of all from them.


by Walt Whitman | |

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 deckhand singing on the steamboat
 deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands; 
The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the 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 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.


by Walt Whitman | |

In Midnight Sleep.

 1
IN midnight sleep, of many a face of anguish, 
Of the look at first of the mortally wounded—of that indescribable look; 
Of the dead on their backs, with arms extended wide, 
 I dream, I dream, I dream.
2 Of scenes of nature, fields and mountains; Of skies, so beauteous after a storm—and at night the moon so unearthly bright, Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches and gather the heaps, I dream, I dream, I dream.
3 Long, long have they pass’d—faces and trenches and fields; Where through the carnage I moved with a callous composure—or away from the fallen, Onward I sped at the time—But now of their forms at night, I dream, I dream, I dream.


by Walt Whitman | |

Miracles.

 WHY! who makes much of a miracle? 
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, 
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, 
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, 
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods, 
Or talk by day with any one I love—or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, 
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother, 
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, 
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields, 
Or birds—or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, 
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down—or of stars shining so quiet and bright, 
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring; 
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best—mechanics, boatmen,
 farmers,
Or among the savans—or to the soiree—or to the opera, 
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery, 
Or behold children at their sports, 
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman, 
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass; 
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, 
The whole referring—yet each distinct, and in its place.
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every cubic inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every foot of the interior swarms with the same; Every spear of grass—the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?