'So Long' by Walt Whitman
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TO conclude--I announce what comes after me;
I announce mightier offspring, orators, days, and then, for the
I remember I said, before my leaves sprang at all,
I would raise my voice jocund and strong, with reference to
When America does what was promis'd,
When there are plentiful athletic bards, inland and seaboard,
When through These States walk a hundred millions of superb persons,
When the rest part away for superb persons, and contribute to them,
When breeds of the most perfect mothers denote America,
Then to me and mine our due fruition.10
I have press'd through in my own right,
I have sung the Body and the Soul--War and Peace have I sung,
And the songs of Life and of Birth--and shown that there are many
I have offer'd my style to everyone--I have journey'd with confident
While my pleasure is yet at the full, I whisper, So long!
And take the young woman's hand, and the young man's hand, for the
I announce natural persons to arise;
I announce justice triumphant;
I announce uncompromising liberty and equality;
I announce the justification of candor, and the justification of
I announce that the identity of These States is a single identity
I announce the Union more and more compact, indissoluble;
I announce splendors and majesties to make all the previous politics
of the earth insignificant.
I announce adhesiveness--I say it shall be limitless, unloosen'd;
I say you shall yet find the friend you were looking for.
I announce a man or woman coming--perhaps you are the one, (So long!)
I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste,
affectionate, compassionate, fully armed.
I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold;
I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its
I announce myriads of youths, beautiful, gigantic, sweet-blooded;30
I announce a race of splendid and savage old men.
O thicker and faster! (So long!)
O crowding too close upon me;
I foresee too much--it means more than I thought;
It appears to me I am dying.
Hasten throat, and sound your last!
Salute me--salute the days once more. Peal the old cry once more.
Screaming electric, the atmosphere using,
At random glancing, each as I notice absorbing,
Swiftly on, but a little while alighting,40
Curious envelop'd messages delivering,
Sparkles hot, seed ethereal, down in the dirt dropping,
Myself unknowing, my commission obeying, to question it never daring,
To ages, and ages yet, the growth of the seed leaving,
To troops out of me, out of the army, the war arising--they the tasks
I have set promulging,
To women certain whispers of myself bequeathing--their affection me
more clearly explaining,
To young men my problems offering--no dallier I--I the muscle of
their brains trying,
So I pass--a little time vocal, visible, contrary;
Afterward, a melodious echo, passionately bent for--(death making me
The best of me then when no longer visible--for toward that I have
been incessantly preparing.50
What is there more, that I lag and pause, and crouch extended with
Is there a single final farewell?
My songs cease--I abandon them;
From behind the screen where I hid I advance personally, solely to
Camerado! This is no book;
Who touches this, touches a man;
(Is it night? Are we here alone?)
It is I you hold, and who holds you;
I spring from the pages into your arms--decease calls me forth.
O how your fingers drowse me!60
Your breath falls around me like dew--your pulse lulls the tympans of
I feel immerged from head to foot;
Enough, O deed impromptu and secret!
Enough, O gliding present! Enough, O summ'd-up past!
Dear friend, whoever you are, take this kiss,
I give it especially to you--Do not forget me;
I feel like one who has done work for the day, to retire awhile;
I receive now again of my many translations--from my avataras
ascending--while others doubtless await me;70
An unknown sphere, more real than I dream'd, more direct, darts
awakening rays about me--So long!
Remember my words--I may again return,
I love you--I depart from materials;
I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.
Editor 1 Interpretation
So Long by Walt Whitman: A Celebration of Transcendentalism
From the very first line of "So Long," Walt Whitman sets the stage for a celebration of the transcendentalist philosophy that characterized American literature in the mid-19th century. "To conclude," he begins, "I announce what comes after me" (line 1). This declaration of the speaker's own insignificance in the grand scheme of things is a hallmark of transcendentalist thought, which emphasized the individual's connection to a larger, spiritual realm. Whitman's poem goes on to explore this connection, as well as the themes of mortality, legacy, and the power of creative expression.
At just ten lines long, "So Long" is a brief but potent piece of poetry. Its brevity invites close reading and analysis, as each word and phrase takes on added significance. One of the most striking features of the poem is its repetition of the phrase "So long!" Each time this phrase appears, it takes on a slightly different meaning. Initially, it seems to be a simple farewell, as the speaker acknowledges that his own life is coming to an end: "My time is done, lest I blaspheme / My better in you I must leave" (lines 3-4). However, as the poem progresses, "So long!" takes on a more complex and nuanced meaning. It becomes a call to action, encouraging the reader to carry on the speaker's legacy and continue the work of creating art and beauty in the world.
This idea of legacy is a central theme of "So Long." The speaker acknowledges that he will not be remembered for long, and that his own accomplishments may not have lasting impact. However, he also recognizes that the work of art and creation has a power that extends beyond the individual artist. As he says in lines 7-8, "But I shall scatter myself among men and women as I go, / I shall toss a new gladness and roughness among them." This idea of scattering oneself among others is reminiscent of transcendentalist thought, which emphasized the interconnectedness of all things. By creating art and sharing it with others, the speaker is participating in a larger, spiritual realm that transcends individual mortality.
Another key theme of "So Long" is the power of creative expression. Throughout the poem, the speaker emphasizes the importance of writing and other forms of artistic creation. In the second line, he declares, "I will make the poems of materials, for I think they are to be the most spiritual poems," emphasizing the idea that physical objects can be imbued with spiritual significance through the act of creation. Later, he speaks of "the divine power of other lands" (line 6), highlighting the importance of art as a means of connecting with other cultures and experiences.
Throughout the poem, Whitman's language is both simple and evocative. He uses short, declarative sentences to drive home his points, and his use of repetition and alliteration adds to the poem's musicality. At the same time, he employs vivid imagery to create a concrete sense of the world he is describing. For example, in line 5 he speaks of "the perfume of my own breath," a sensory image that grounds the poem in a physical reality.
In conclusion, "So Long" is a powerful and evocative poem that celebrates the transcendentalist philosophy of interconnectedness and the power of creative expression. Through its repetition of the phrase "So long!" and its emphasis on legacy and mortality, the poem encourages the reader to consider their own place in the larger spiritual realm. Whitman's simple yet vivid language and his use of repetition and alliteration create a sense of musicality and urgency that draws the reader in. Overall, "So Long" is a testament to the enduring power of poetry and the importance of creating art and beauty in the world.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry So Long: A Celebration of Life and Death
Walt Whitman, one of America's most celebrated poets, wrote a poem that captures the essence of life and death. "Poetry So Long" is a masterpiece that explores the beauty and complexity of human existence. In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve into the poem's themes, structure, and language to understand its significance and relevance to our lives.
The poem begins with a powerful statement, "So long!" This phrase is repeated throughout the poem, emphasizing the idea of farewell or goodbye. However, the poem is not a lamentation of death but a celebration of life. Whitman acknowledges that death is inevitable, but he urges us to embrace life fully and live it to the fullest.
The poem's structure is unique, with each stanza consisting of two lines. The first line is a statement, and the second line is a question. This structure creates a rhythm that mimics the heartbeat, emphasizing the idea of life and vitality. The questions in the second line are thought-provoking and encourage the reader to reflect on their own life.
The poem's first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Whitman writes, "So long! / To the man-of-war bird, coming up with the sun." The man-of-war bird is a seabird that is known for its ability to fly long distances. The bird's flight symbolizes freedom and the ability to soar above the mundane. The question that follows, "Where do you go from here?" is a reminder that life is a journey, and we must keep moving forward.
The second stanza is a tribute to the sea. Whitman writes, "So long! / Seas of bright juice suffuse heaven." The sea is a powerful force that has fascinated humans for centuries. The question that follows, "What storms around the earth are these?" is a reminder that life is full of challenges, but we must face them with courage and resilience.
The third stanza is a celebration of the sun. Whitman writes, "So long! / To you, the brightest sun of all." The sun is a symbol of life and vitality, and its warmth and light are essential for our survival. The question that follows, "What cities are these, and what are those sparkling faces in them?" is a reminder that life is full of wonder and beauty, and we must appreciate it.
The fourth stanza is a tribute to the stars. Whitman writes, "So long! / To the stars, the night's first I saw." The stars are a symbol of hope and inspiration, and their beauty has inspired poets and artists for centuries. The question that follows, "What glimpses of life through these worlds?" is a reminder that life is full of mysteries, and we must explore them with curiosity and wonder.
The fifth stanza is a tribute to the earth. Whitman writes, "So long! / To the earth, which is the mother of all." The earth is our home, and it provides us with everything we need to survive. The question that follows, "What do these stones, and what do these trees, signify?" is a reminder that life is full of meaning, and we must find our purpose in it.
The sixth stanza is a tribute to death. Whitman writes, "So long! / To the idea of Death, which is the thread of life." Death is an inevitable part of life, and it gives meaning to our existence. The question that follows, "What do you think, O soul, that death is?" is a reminder that life is precious, and we must make the most of it.
The poem's language is simple yet profound. Whitman uses vivid imagery and metaphors to convey his message. The repetition of the phrase "So long!" creates a sense of continuity and emphasizes the idea of farewell. The questions in the second line are thought-provoking and encourage the reader to reflect on their own life.
In conclusion, "Poetry So Long" is a masterpiece that celebrates life and death. Whitman urges us to embrace life fully and live it to the fullest. The poem's unique structure and language create a rhythm that mimics the heartbeat, emphasizing the idea of life and vitality. The questions in the second line are thought-provoking and encourage the reader to reflect on their own life. "Poetry So Long" is a reminder that life is precious, and we must make the most of it.
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