Walt Whitman and “I Hear America Singing”

I have never really been a Whitman fan, but I do like this poem and thought it worthy of pointing out on this Independence Day Eve. America’s occupations may have changed, but surely she still sings the same song. I found the poem at a Library of Congress site. You can go there to hear Billy Collins, the Library of Congress’s Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, read the poem. You can also find out more about Walt Whitman.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics — each one singing his, as it should be,
blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank and beam;
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat —
the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench —
the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter’s song — the ploughboy’s, on his way in the
morning,or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother — or of the young wife at work —
or of the girl sewing or washing — Each singing what belongs
to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day — At night, the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

Walt Whitman — Leaves of Grass


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