I Hear America Singing: Walt Whitman 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, 5The 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 10as 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, 15Each 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. Song of Myself: Walt Whitman 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 loaf and invite my soul, 5I lean and loaf 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, 10Hoping 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, 15Nature without check with original energy A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands, How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green 20stuff woven. Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt, Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose? Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, Growing among black folks as among white, 30Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff,I give them the same,I receive them the same. And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves. Tenderly will I use you curling grass, It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men, 35It may be if I had known them I would have loved them, It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’ laps, And here you are the mothers’ laps. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers, 40Darker than the colorless beards of old men, Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues, And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing. 45I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women, And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. What do you think has become of the young and old men? 50And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, 55And ceas’d the moment life appear’d. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier. The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering. 60I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. The last scudof day holds back for me, It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds, 65It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk. I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun, I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags. I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles. 70You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, 10I stop somewhere waiting for you. Beat! Beat! Drums!: Walt Whitman Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow! Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force, Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation, Into the school where the scholar is studying; 5Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride, Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain, So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles 10blow. Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow! Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets; Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds, 15No bargainers’ bargains by day—no brokers or speculators— would they continue? Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing? Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge? 20Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow. Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow! Make no parley—stop for no expostulation, Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer, Mind not the old man beseeching the young man, 25Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties, Make even the trestlesto shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses, So strong you thump O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.