We begin the week with Walt Whitman and his poem Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd.
Born in Long Island, USA in 1819, Walt Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk and was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War, but came to acclaim as one of the most influential poets in the American canon. His style earned him the title of the ‘Father of Free Verse’.
In 1855 Whitman self-funded the publication of his major work Leaves of Grass which was written in an attempt to reach out to the common person. It became a lifelong piece of work for Whitman as he continued editing and revising it until his death in 1892.
Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd features in the Children of Adam section of Leaves of Grass, appearing first in the 1960 edition.
Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd
Out of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me,
Whispering I love you, before long I die,
I have travel’d a long way merely to look on you to touch you,
For I could not die till I once look’d on you,
For I fear’d I might afterward lose you.
Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe,
Return in peace to the ocean my love,
I too am part of that ocean my love, we are not so much separated,
Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect!
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us,
As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse forever;
Be not impatient–a little space–know you I salute the air, the
ocean and the land,
Every day at sundown for your dear sake my love