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Apostroph - by Walt Whitman


O MATER! O fils!

O brood continental!

O flowers of the prairies!

O space boundless! O hum of mighty products!

O you teeming cities! O so invincible, turbulent, proud!

O race of the future! O women!

O fathers! O you men of passion and the storm!

O native power only! O beauty!

O yourself! O God! O divine average!

O you bearded roughs! O bards! O all those slumberers!

O arouse! the dawn bird’s throat sounds shrill! Do you not hear the cock crowing?

O, as I walk’d the beach, I heard the mournful notes foreboding a tempest—the low, oft-repeated shriek of the diver, the long-lived loon;

O I heard, and yet hear, angry thunder;—O you sailors! O ships! make quick preparation!

O from his masterful sweep, the warning cry of the eagle! (Give way there, all! It is useless! Give up your spoils;)

O sarcasms! Propositions! (O if the whole world should prove indeed a sham, a sell!)

O I believe there is nothing real but America and freedom!

O to sternly reject all except Democracy!

O imperator! O who dare confront you and me?

O to promulgate our own! O to build for that which builds for mankind!

O feuillage! O North! O the slope drained by the Mexican sea!

O all, all inseparable—ages, ages, ages!

O a curse on him that would dissever this Union for any reason whatever!

O climates, labors! O good and evil! O death!

O you strong with iron and wood! O Personality!

O the village or place which has the greatest man or woman! even if it be only a few ragged huts;

O the city where women walk in public processions in the streets, the same as the men;

O a wan and terrible emblem, by me adopted!

O shapes arising! shapes of the future centuries!

O muscle and pluck forever for me!

O workmen and workwomen forever for me!

O farmers and sailors! O drivers of horses forever for me!

O I will make the new bardic list of trades and tools!

O you coarse and wilful! I love you!

O South! O longings for my dear home! O soft and sunny airs!

O pensive! O I must return where the palm grows and the mocking-bird sings, or else I die!

O equality! O organic compacts! I am come to be your born poet!

O whirl, contest, sounding and resounding! I am your poet, because I am part of you;

O days by-gone! Enthusiasts! Antecedents!

O vast preparations for These States! O years!

O what is now being sent forward thousands of years to come!

O mediums! O to teach! to convey the invisible faith! To promulge real things! to journey through all The States!

O creation! O to-day! O laws! O unmitigated adoration!

O for mightier broods of orators, artists, and singers!

O for native songs! carpenter’s, boatman’s, ploughman’s songs! shoemaker’s songs!

O haughtiest growth of time! O free and extatic!

O what I, here, preparing, warble for!

O you hastening light! O the sun of the world will ascend, dazzling, and take his height—and you too will ascend;

O so amazing and so broad! up there resplendent, darting and burning;

O prophetic! O vision staggered with weight of light! with pouring glories!

O copious! O hitherto unequalled!

O Libertad! O compact! O union impossible to dissever!

O my Soul! O lips becoming tremulous, powerless!

O centuries, centuries yet ahead!

O voices of greater orators! I pause—I listen for you

O you States! Cities! defiant of all outside authority! I spring at once into your arms! you I most love!

O you grand Presidentiads! I wait for you! New history! New heroes! I project you! Visions of poets! only you really last! O sweep on! sweep on!

O Death! O you striding there! O I cannot yet!

O heights! O infinitely too swift and dizzy yet!

O purged lumine! you threaten me more than I can stand!

O present! I return while yet I may to you!

O poets to come, I depend upon you!


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