Walt Whitman, American

Walt Whitman, source and date unknown

For American Independence Day, selections from Walt Whitman:

America (1888)

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.


The United States to Old World Critics 
(1888)

Here first the duties of to-day, the lessons of the concrete,
Wealth, order, travel, shelter, products, plenty;
As of the building of some varied, vast, perpetual edifice,
Whence to arise inevitable in time, the towering roofs, the lamps,
The solid-planted spires tall shooting to the stars.


One Song, America, Before I Go
(1872)

One song, America, before I go
I’d sing, o’er all the rest, with trumpet sound,
For thee — the Future.

I’d sow a seed for thee of endless Nationality;
I’d fashion thy Ensemble, including Body and Soul;
I’d show, away ahead, thy real Union, and how it may be accomplish’d
(The paths to the House I seek to make,
But leave to those to come, the House itself.)

Belief I sing — and Preparation;
As Life and Nature are not great with reference to the Present only,
But greater still from what is yet to come,
Out of that formula for Thee I sing.

###

About James Thomas Snyder

Former U.S. diplomat, NATO staffer, and U.S. Congressional speechwriter. All opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. government.
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