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On Journeys Through the States
Walt Whitman


On journeys through the States we start,
(Ay through the world, urged by these songs,
Sailing henceforth to every land, to every sea,)
We willing learners of all, teachers of all, and lovers of all.
We have watch'd the seasons dispensing themselves and passing on,
And have said, Why should not a man or woman do as much as the
seasons, and effuse as much?
We dwell a while in every city and town,
We pass through Kanada, the North-east, the vast valley of the
Mississippi, and the Southern States,
We confer on equal terms with each of the States,
We make trial of ourselves and invite men and women to hear,
We say to ourselves, Remember, fear not, be candid, promulge the
body and the soul,
Dwell a while and pass on, be copious, temperate, chaste, magnetic,
And what you effuse may then return as the seasons return,
And may be just as much as the seasons.

This poem is in the public domain.




Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892) is primarily known for a collection of poems called Leaves of Grass, which he completely revised at least five times during the course of his life and which appeared in print in at least three different editions. Though his formal education ended with elementary school, Whitman was an educator at several points in his life. More often, he worked as a printer, a clerk, or a nurse; he was chronically poor, but managed to interject culture (he loved opera) and travel into his life. He achieved international acclaim during the course of his career, but probably had as many detractors as he did fans.

Post New Comment:
Ralph Murre:
Thanks for posting this, Jayne -- for reminding us to look more often into our own bookshelves, and for reminding us that there's always something new in what's old.
Posted 12/13/2012 11:56 AM
Whitman is my favorite. Let the Great Gray Bard live on!!
Posted 12/13/2012 10:24 AM
It is important that you include poems like this. It expands us. I've read much Whitman, but never this one and Im grateful to have read it this morning. I feel larger. Nils
Posted 12/13/2012 09:27 AM
His four seasons: copious, temperate, chaste, magnetic!
Posted 12/13/2012 09:27 AM
Ginny C.:
I love how open-hearted Whitman's poetry is. This poem is a good one to keep near as we journey through life.
Posted 12/13/2012 08:29 AM
Larry Schug:
Somday (hopefully) our poems will be "old poems", but I hope there will still be people reading them. Rock on, Walter!
Posted 12/13/2012 07:41 AM

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