Nox Oculis


Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Poète américain qui célèbre avec force la grandeur de l'individu, de l'humanité et du monde naturel. Sa poésie anticonformiste influença profondément la pensée et la littérature américaine.

Whitman naquit le 31 mai 1819, près de Huntington dans l'État de New York, au cœur de Long Island ; il était le second enfant d'une famille qui en comptait neuf. Alors qu'il avait quatre ans, ses parents déménagèrent à Brooklyn, où il devint apprenti chez un typographe. Il partit, ensuite à New York pour exercer sa profession, mais revint à Long Island en 1835 afin d'enseigner dans des écoles de campagne. De 1838 à 1839, il édita à Huntington un journal intitulé le Long Islander. Poussé par l'ennui, il retourna à New York, reprit ses activités de typographe et de journaliste, et fréquenta assidûment l'opéra, le théâtre et les bibliothèques. Il écrivit à cette époque des poèmes sans grande originalité et des récits destinés à des magazines populaires. Il rédigea aussi des discours politiques pour les démocrates du Tammany Hall, qui le remercièrent en le nommant rédacteur en chef de plusieurs journaux éphémères. Après un séjour à la Nouvelle-Orléans, en Louisiane, il revint à Brooklyn où il essaya de créer un journal pour le parti qu'il avait défendu, puis exerça différents métiers avant de se consacrer à l'écriture de la poésie.

En 1855, Whitman publia la première édition de Feuilles d'herbe, un recueil de poésie dont la versification était tout à fait inédite. Cet ouvrage, bien différent des poèmes d'amour en vers rimés qu'il avait composés dans les années 1940, chantait sans retenue le corps humain et glorifiait les sens ; il ne trouva pas d'éditeur et Whitman dut publier l'ouvrage à ses frais. Si le recueil était anonyme, en revanche le frontispice représentait la silhouette du poète en pied, les poings sur les hanches, en bras de chemise, le chapeau incliné sur le coin de l'œil. Whitman avait également composé une longue préface dans laquelle il annonçait l'avènement d'une littérature démocratique « à la mesure de son peuple », simple et invincible, écrite par un poète d'un genre nouveau à la fois tendre, fort et héroïque, et qui s'imposerait par la force et le magnétisme de sa personnalité. Whitman passa d'ailleurs le reste de sa vie à s'efforcer de devenir ce poète dont il avait clamé les vertus.

L'édition de 1855 de Feuilles d'herbe contenait douze poèmes sans titre, écrits en longs vers cadencés. Le plus beau d'entre tous, que le poète intitula par la suite « Chant de moi-même » (« Song of Myself »), consiste en une vision d'un « moi » symbolique, ravi par les sens et embrassant indirectement toute l'humanité et tous les lieux, de l'océan Pacifique à l'océan Atlantique. Le poème désigné par le titre « Ils dorment » (« The Sleepers ») est également un élan visionnaire, symbolisant la vie, la mort et la renaissance.

Après cette première publication, Whitman reçut une lettre de félicitations de l'illustre essayiste et poète Ralph Waldo Emerson, ce qui le poussa à publier à la hâte une nouvelle édition de Feuilles d'herbe (1856). Cette édition, revue et corrigée mais également amplifiée, allait être suivie de nombreuses autres. Whitman tentait, dans le poème intitulé « Sur le bac de Brooklyn » (« Crossing Brooklyn Ferry »), de communier avec tous ses lecteurs et avec tous ceux qui empruntaient ou allaient emprunter le bac. Dans la troisième édition, établie en 1860, il donna à sa poésie une forme plus allégorique. C'est ainsi que dans « Venant du berceau perpétuellement bercé » (« Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking »), un oiseau moqueur, qui incarne la voix de la nature, révèle la signification de la mort à un petit garçon, futur poète. On retrouve dans la musicalité de ce poème l'influence de l'opéra italien, que Whitman appréciait particulièrement. Le recueil était enrichi de deux nouvelles séries de poèmes : «?Enfants d'Adam?» (« Children of Adam ») et « Calamus » dans lesquelles le poète évoque l'amour charnel et homosexuel. (« Calamus » relaterait une liaison homosexuelle de l'auteur).

Un volume de poèmes intitulé Roulements de tambour (Drum-Taps), d'abord publié en 1865 et ajouté à l'édition de 1867, reflète la profonde compréhension qu'avait Whitman de la guerre de Sécession ainsi que son espoir de voir se réconcilier les belligérants. Parut ensuite « l'Embarquement pour l'Inde » (« Passage to India », 1871) qui traduit, à partir du symbolisme associé aux moyens de communication et de transport modernes, sa vision transcendante de l'union, non seulement de l'Occident avec l'Orient, mais aussi de l'âme avec Dieu.

En 1881, Whitman publia une nouvelle édition qui lui convenait presque parfaitement, ce qui ne l'empêcha pas d'ajouter encore de nouveaux poèmes, qui apparaissent dans la version finale parue de 1892. Une série de poèmes intitulée « Old Age Echoes » fut également publiée, à titre posthume, en 1897. Tous les poèmes de Whitman ont ensuite été réunis dans une édition définitive établie en 1965.

Pendant la guerre de Sécession, Whitman travailla comme infirmier dans les hôpitaux de l'armée de l'Union, à Washington. À la fin du conflit, il resta dans cette ville, avec un emploi de fonctionnaire d'État. Cependant, en 1873, il fut atteint d'une attaque d'apoplexie et il préféra aller vivre chez son frère à Camden dans le New Jersey où il resta jusqu'en 1884. Après quoi, il acheta une maison, où il se consacra à l'écriture et à la révision de Feuilles d'herbe jusqu'à sa mort, le 26 mars 1892. Pendant ses dernières années, il avait également composé divers essais, rassemblés dans Perspectives démocratiques (1871), une œuvre qui constitue désormais un texte de référence sur les fondements théoriques de la démocratie et sur la légitimité du régime politique établi sous ce nom aux États-Unis. C'est aussi à cette époque qu'il rédigea Jours exemplaires (1882-1883), un ouvrage où figurent aussi bien ses souvenirs, des récits sur les années de guerre et l'assassinat de Lincoln, que des notes sur la nature.

De nos jours, la poésie de Whitman a été traduite dans la plupart des langues et de nombreux érudits étudient la valeur et la portée de son œuvre. On s'accorde désormais à reconnaître l'influence qu'il exerça sur des auteurs comme Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens et Allen Ginsberg, ce dernier ayant été particulièrement marqué par la liberté de ton avec laquelle Whitman évoquait la sexualité. L'édition en cinq volumes de la correspondance de Whitman (1961-1969) ainsi que l'édition définitive en seize volumes de ses Collected Writings (1963-1980) ont permis d'approfondir la connaissance de sa pensée et de son œuvre.


A Clear Midnight

    This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
    Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
    Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
    Night, sleep, death and the stars.

    Walt Whitman


A Prairie Sunset

    Shot gold, maroon and violet, dazzling silver, emerald, fawn,
    The earth's whole amplitude and Nature's multiform power consign'd for once to colors ;
    The light, the general air possess'd by them-colors till now unknown,
    No limit, confine- not the Western sky alone- the high meridian -- North, South, all,
    Pure luminous color fighting the silent shadows to the last.

    Walt Whitman


After the Dazzle of Day

    After the dazzle of day is gone,
    Only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars ;
    After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band,
    Silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true.

    Walt Whitman


And Yet Not You Alone

    And yet not you alone, twilight and burying ebb,
    Nor you, ye lost designs alone- nor failures, aspirations ;
    I know, divine deceitful ones, your glamour's seeming ;
    Duly by you, from you, the tide and light again- duly the hinges turning,
    Duly the needed discord-parts offsetting, blending,
    Weaving from you, from Sleep, Night, Death itself,
    The rhythmus of Birth eternal.

    Walt Whitman


Night on the Prairies

    Night on the prairies,
    The supper is over, the fire on the ground burns low,
    The wearied emigrants sleep, wrapt in their blankets ;
    I walk by myself -- I stand and look at the stars, which I think now never realized before.

    Walt Whitman


On the Beach at Night

    On the beach at night,
    Stands a child with her father,
    Watching the east, the autumn sky.

    Up through the darkness,
    While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
    Lower sullen and fast athwarth and down the sky,
    Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
    Ascends large and calm the lord-star Jupiter,
    And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
    Swim the delicate sisters Pleiades.

    From the beach the child holding the hand of her father,
    Those burial-clouds that lower victorious soon to devour all,
    Watching, silently weeps.

    Weep not, child,
    Weep not, my darling,
    With these kisses let me remove your tears,
    The ravening clouds shall not be long victorious,
    They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the stars only in apparition,
    Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another night, the Pleiades shall emerge,
    They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden shall shine out again,
    The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again they endure,
    The vast immortal suns and the long-enduring pensive moons shall again shine.

    Then dearest child mournest thou only for Jupiter ?
    Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars ?

    Something there is,
    (With my lips soothing thee, adding I whisper,
    I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
    Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
    (Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
    Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter,
    Longer than sun or any revolving satellite,
    Or the radiant sisters the Pleiades.

    Walt Whitman, 1871, Leaves of Grass (1891-92)


On the Beach at Night Alone

    On the beach at night alone,
    As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
    As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.

    A vast similitude interlocks all,
    All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
    All distances of place however wide,
    All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
    All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
    All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
    All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
    All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
    All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
    This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann'd,
    And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.

    Walt Whitman, 1856, Leaves of Grass (1891-92)


Passage to India (extrait)

    O vast rondure, swimming in space,
    Cover’d all over with visible power and beauty,
    Alternate light and day and the teeming spiritual darkness,
    Unspeakable high processions of sun and moon and countless stars above,
    Below, the manifold grass and waters, animals, mountains, trees,
    With inscrutable purpose, some hidden prophetic intention,
    Now first it seems my thought begins to span thee.

    Down from the gardens of Asia descending radiating,
    Adam and Eve appear, then their myriad progeny after them,
    Wandering, yearning, curious, with restless explorations,
    With questionings, baffled, formless, feverish, with neverhappy hearts,
    With that sad incessant refrain, Wherefore unsatisfied soul? and Whither O mocking life ?

    Ah, who shall soothe these feverish children ?
    Who justify these restless explorations ?
    Who speak the secret of impassive earth ?
    Who bind it to us? what is this separate Nature so unnatural ?
    What is this earth to our affections ? (unloving earth, without a throb to answer ours,
    Cold earth, the place of graves.)

    Yet soul be sure the first intent remains, and shall be carried out,
    Perhaps even now the time has arrived.
    After the seas are all cross’d, (as they seem already cross’d,)
    After the great captains and engineers have accomplish’d their work,
    After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,
    Finally shall come the poet worthy that name,
    The true son of God shall come singing his songs.

    Then not your deeds only O voyagers, O scientists and inventors, shall be justified;
    All these hearts as of fretted children shall be sooth’d,
    All affection shall be fully responded to, the secret shall be told,
    All these separations and gaps shall be taken up and hook’d and link’d together,
    The whole earth, this cold, impassive, voiceless earth, shall be completely justified,
    Trinitas divine shall be gloriously accomplish’d and compacted by the true son of God, the poet,
    (He shall indeed pass the straits and conquer the mountains,
    He shall double the cape of Good Hope to some purpose,)
    Nature and Man shall be disjoin’d and diffused no more,
    The true son of God shall absolutely fuse them.

    Passage indeed O soul to primal thought,
    Not lands and seas alone, thy own clear freshness,
    The young maturity of brood and bloom,
    To realms of budding bibles.

    O soul, repressless, I with thee and thou with me,
    Thy circumnavigation of the world begin,
    Of man, the voyage of his mind’s return,
    To reason’s early paradise,
    Back, back to wisdom’s birth, to innocent intuitions,
    Again with fair creation.

    O we can wait no longer,
    We too take ship O soul
    Joyous we too launch out on trackless seas,
    Fearless for unknown shores on waves of ecstasy to sail,
    Amid the wafting winds, (thou pressing me to thee, I thee to me, O soul,)
    Caroling free, singing our song of God,
    Chanting our chant of pleasant exploration.

    With laugh and many a kiss,
    (Let others deprecate, let others weep for sin, remorse, humiliation,)
    O soul thou pleasest me, I thee.

    Ah more than any priest O soul we too believe in God,
    But with the mystery of God we dare not dally.

    O soul thou pleasest me, I thee,
    Sailing these seas or on the hills, or waking in the night,
    Thoughts, silent thoughts, of Time and Space and Death, like waters flowing,
    Bear me indeed as through the regions infinite,
    Whose air I breathe, whose ripples hear, lave me all over,
    Bathe me O God in thee, mounting to thee,
    I and my soul to range in range of thee.

    O Thou transcendent,
    Nameless, the fibre and the breath,
    Light of the light, shedding forth universes, thou centre of them,
    Thou mightier centre of the true, the good, the loving,
    Thou moral, spiritual fountain—affection’s source—thou reservoir,
    (O pensive soul of me —- O thirst unsatisfied—waitest not there ?

    Waitest not haply for us somewhere there the Comrade perfect ?)
    Thou pulse —- thou motive of the stars, suns, systems,
    That, circling, move in order, safe, harmonious,
    Athwart the shapeless vastnesses of space,
    How should I think, how breathe a single breath, how speak, if, out of myself,
    I could not launch, to those, superior universes ?

    Swiftly I shrivel at the thought of God,
    At Nature and its wonders, Time and Space and Death,
    But that I, turning, call to thee O soul, thou actual Me,
    And lo, thou gently masterest the orbs,
    Thou matest Time, smilest content at Death,
    And fillest, swellest full the vastnesses of Space.

    Greater than stars or suns,
    Bounding O soul thou journeyest forth;
    What love than thine and ours could wider amplify?
    What aspirations, wishes, outvie thine and ours O soul?
    What dreams of the ideal? what plans of purity, perfection, strength ?
    What cheerful willingness for others’ sake to give up all ?
    For others’ sake to suffer all ?

    Reckoning ahead O soul, when thou, the time achiev’d,
    The seas all cross’d, weather’d the capes, the voyage done,
    Surrounded, copest, frontest God, yieldest, the aim attain’d,
    As fill’d with friendship, love complete, the Elder Brother found,
    The Younger melts in fondness in his arms.

    Passage to more than India !
    Are thy wings plumed indeed for such far flights ?
    O soul, voyagest thou indeed on voyages like those ?
    Disportest thou on waters such as those ?
    Soundest below the Sanscrit and the Vedas ?
    Then have thy bent unleash’d.

    Passage to you, your shores, ye aged fierce enigmas !
    Passage to you, to mastership of you, ye strangling problems !
    You, strew’d with the wrecks of skeletons, that, living, never reach’d you.

    Passage to more than India !
    O secret of the earth and sky !
    Of you O waters of the sea ! O winding creeks and rivers !
    Of you O woods and fields ! of you strong mountains of my land !
    Of you O prairies ! of you gray rocks !
    O morning red ! O clouds! O rain and snows !
    O day and night, passage to you !

    O sun and moon and all you stars ! Sirius and Jupiter !
    Passage to you !

    Passage, immediate passage ! the blood burns in my veins !
    Away O soul ! hoist instantly the anchor !
    Cut the hawsers -— haul out -— shake out every sail !
    Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough ?
    Have we not grovel’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes ?
    Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough ?
    Sail forth —- steer for the deep waters only,
    Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,
    For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
    And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

    O my brave soul ! O farther farther sail !
    O daring joy, but safe ! are they not all the seas of God ?
    O farther, farther, farther sail !

    Walt Whitman


Song at Sunset

    Splendor of ended day floating and filling me,
    Hour prophetic, hour resuming the past,
    Inflating my throat, you divine average,
    You earth and life till the last ray gleams I sing.

    Open mouth of my soul uttering gladness,
    Eyes of my soul seeing perfection,
    Natural life of me faithfully praising things,
    Corroborating forever the triumph of things.

    Illustrious every one !
    Illustrious what we name space, sphere of unnumber'd spirits,
    Illustrious the mystery of motion in all beings, even the tiniest insect,
    Illustrious the attribute of speech, the senses, the body,
    Illustrious the passing light- illustrious the pale reflection on the new moon in the western sky,
    Illustrious whatever I see or hear or touch, to the last.

    Good in all,
    In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals,

    Walt Whitman


Song of myself (44)

    It is time to explain myself- let us stand up.

    What is known I strip away,
    I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown.

    The clock indicates the moment- but what does eternity indicate ?

    We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers,
    There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.

    Births have brought us richness and variety,
    And other births will bring us richness and variety.

    I do not call one greater and one smaller,
    That which fills its period and place is equal to any.

    Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister ?
    I am sorry for you, they are not murderous or jealous upon me,
    All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation,
    (What have I to do with lamentation ?)

    I am an acme of things accomplish'd, and I an encloser of things to be.

    My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs,
    On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps,
    All below duly travel'd, and still I mount and mount.

    Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me,
    Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, I know I was even there,
    I waited unseen and always, and slept through the lethargic mist,
    And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid carbon.

    Long I was hugg'd close -- long and long.

    Immense have been the preparations for me,
    Faithful and friendly the arms that have help'd me.

    Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen,
    For room to me stars kept aside in their own rings,
    They sent influences to look after what was to hold me.

    Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me,
    My embryo has never been torpid, nothing could overlay it.

    For it the nebula cohered to an orb,
    The long slow strata piled to rest it on,
    Vast vegetables gave it sustenance,
    Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths and deposited it with care.

    All forces have been steadily employ'd to complete and delight me,
    Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul.

    Walt Whitman


Song of Parting

    In the annual return of the seasons,
    In the hilarity of youth,
    In the strength and flush of manhood,
    In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
    In the superb vistas of death.

    Wonderful to depart !
    Wonderful to be here !
    The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood !
    To breathe the air, how delicious !
    To speak -- to walk -- to seize something by the hand !
    To prepare for sleep, for bed, to look on my rose-color'd flesh !
    To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large !
    To be this incredible God I am !
    To have gone forth among other Gods, these men and women I love.

    Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself
    How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around !
    How the clouds pass silently overhead !
    How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on !
    How the water sports and sings ! (surely it is alive !)
    How the trees rise and stand up, with strong trunks, with branches and leaves !
    (Surely there is something more in each of the trees, some living soul.)

    O amazement of things-even the least particle !
    O spirituality of things !
    O strain musical flowing through ages and continents, now reaching me and America !
    I take your strong chords, intersperse them, and cheerfully pass them forward.

    I too carol the sun, usher'd or at noon, or as now, setting,
    I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth and of all the growths of the earth,
    I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

    As I steam'd down the Mississippi,
    As I wander'd over the prairies,
    As I have lived, as I have look'd through my windows my eyes,
    As I went forth in the morning, as I beheld the light breaking in the east,
    As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the Western Sea,
    As I roam'd the streets of inland Chicago, whatever streets I have roam'd,
    Or cities or silent woods, or even amid the sights of war,
    Wherever I have been I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.

    I sing to the last the equalities modern or old,
    I sing the endless finales of things,
    I say Nature continues, glory continues,
    I praise with electric voice,
    For I do not see one imperfection in the universe,
    And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

    O setting sun! though the time has come,
    I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.

    Walt Whitman


Thou Orb Aloft Full-Dazzling

    Thou orb aloft full-dazzling ! thou hot October noon !
    Flooding with sheeny light the gray beach sand,
    The sibilant near sea with vistas far and foam,
    And tawny streaks and shades and spreading blue ;
    O sun of noon refulgent! my special word to thee.

    Hear me illustrious !
    Thy lover me, for always I have loved thee,
    Even as basking babe, then happy boy alone by some wood edge, thy touching-distant beams enough,
    Or man matured, or young or old, as now to thee I launch my invocation.

    (Thou canst not with thy dumbness me deceive,
    I know before the fitting man all Nature yields,
    Though answering not in words, the skies, trees, hear his voice-and thou O sun,
    As for thy throes, thy perturbations, sudden breaks and shafts of flame gigantic,
    I understand them, I know those flames, those perturbations well.)

    Thou that with fructifying heat and light,
    O'er myriad farms, o'er lands and waters North and South,
    O'er Mississippi's endless course, o'er Texas' grassy plains, Kanada's woods,
    O'er all the globe that turns its face to thee shining in space,
    Thou that impartially enfoldest all, not only continents, seas,
    Thou that to grapes and weeds and little wild flowers givest so liberally,
    Shed, shed thyself on mine and me, with but a fleeting ray out of thy million millions,
    Strike through these chants.

    Nor only launch thy subtle dazzle and thy strength for these,
    Prepare the later afternoon of me myself -- prepare my lengthening shadows,
    Prepare my starry nights.

    Walt Whitman


Twilight

    The soft voluptuous opiate shades,
    The sun just gone, the eager light dispell'd -- (I too will soon be gone, dispell'd.)
    A haze -- nirwana -- rest and night -- oblivion.

    Walt Whitman


When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer

    When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
    When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
    When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
    When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
    How soon unaccountable I became tired, and sick,
    Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
    Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

    Walt Whitman, 1865, dans Leaves of Grass (1891-92)


Year of Meteors (1859-60)

    Year of meteors! brooding year !
    I would bind in words retrospective some of your deeds and signs,
    I would sing your contest for the 19th Presidentiad,
    I would sing how an old man, tall, with white hair, mounted the scaffold in Virginia,
    (I was at hand, silent I stood with teeth shut close, I watch'd,
    I stood very near you old man when cool and indifferent, but trembling with age and your unheal'd wounds you mounted the scaffold ;)
    I would sing in my copious song your census returns of the States,
    The tables of population and products, I would sing of your ships and their cargoes,
    The proud black ships of Manhattan arriving, some fill'd with
    immigrants, some from the isthmus with cargoes of gold,
    Songs thereof would I sing, to all that hitherward comes would welcome give,
    And you would I sing, fair stripling ! welcome to you from me, young prince of England !
    (Remember you surging Manhattan's crowds as you pass'd with your cortege of nobles ?
    There in the crowds stood I, and singled you out with attachment ;)
    Nor forget I to sing of the wonder, the ship as she swam up my bay,
    Well-shaped and stately the Great Eastern swam up my bay, she was 600 feet long,
    Her moving swiftly surrounded by myriads of small craft I forget not to sing ;
    Nor the comet that came unannounced out of the north flaring in heaven,
    Nor the strange huge meteor-procession dazzling and clear shooting over our heads,
    (A moment, a moment long it sail'd its balls of unearthly light over our heads,
    Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone ;)
    Of such, and fitful as they, I sing-with gleams from them would gleam and patch these chants,
    Your chants, O year all mottled with evil and good-year of forebodings !
    Year of comets and meteors transient and strange-lo! even here one equally transient and strange !
    As I flit through you hastily, soon to fall and be gone, what is this chant,
    What am I myself but one of your meteors ?

    Walt Whitman


You Tides with Ceaseless Swell

    You tides with ceaseless swell ! you power that does this work !
    You unseen force, centripetal, centrifugal, through space's spread,
    Rapport of sun, moon, earth, and all the constellations,
    What are the messages by you from distant stars to us ? what Sirius' ? what Capella's ?
    What central heart- and you the pulse- vivifies all ? what boundless aggregate of all ?
    What subtle indirection and significance in you ? what clue to all in you? what fluid, vast identity,
    Holding the universe with all its parts as one -- as sailing in a ship ?

    Walt Whitman


Références :


Bibliographie :


Oeuvres poétiques :


| Poésie | Page d'accueil | Bibliographie | Glossaire | Hyperliens |

© 2002 Mario Tessier - Tous droits réservés.
Adresse URL : http://pages.infinit.net/noxoculi/whitman.html