1861

Walt Whitman 1819 (West Hills) – 1892 (Camden)

ARM’D year! year of the struggle!
No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year!
Not you as some pale poetling, seated at a desk, lisping cadenzas
  piano;
But as a strong man, erect, clothed in blue clothes, advancing,
  carrying a rifle on your shoulder,
With well-gristled body and sunburnt face and hands–with a knife in
  the belt at your side,
As I heard you shouting loud–your sonorous voice ringing across the
  continent;
Your masculine voice, O year, as rising amid the great cities,
Amid the men of Manhattan I saw you, as one of the workmen, the
  dwellers in Manhattan;
Or with large steps crossing the prairies out of Illinois and
  Indiana,
Rapidly crossing the West with springy gait, and descending the
  Alleghanies;
Or down from the great lakes, or in Pennsylvania, or on deck along
  the Ohio river;
Or southward along the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers, or at
  Chattanooga on the mountain top,
Saw I your gait and saw I your sinewy limbs, clothed in blue, bearing
  weapons, robust year;
Heard your determin’d voice, launch’d forth again and again;
Year that suddenly sang by the mouths of the round-lipp’d cannon,
I repeat you, hurrying, crashing, sad, distracted year.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Walt Whitman

Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. more…

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"1861" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 12 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/37929/1861>.

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