Treasure Island

Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

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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.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Thursday, December 12, 2013

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Read poems about / on: sleep, night, star

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Comments about this poem (A Clear Midnight by Walt Whitman )

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  • Richard Blay (4/11/2014 3:15:00 AM)

    lovely poem. when night comes the ends it work while the soul continues; going places this our mortal bodies can't go- dreaming of course. (Report) Reply

  • Daniel Brick (4/11/2014 2:53:00 AM)

    This is clearly a later poem by Whitman, when he has raised his gaze to the sky, the night sky, and contemplates the stars. It is preparatory to death, our human mortality in general and his own encounter in particular. His advice to his loyal readers: You have followed me on my journeys through the world, observing people at work, at play, in groups or alone, pursuing happiness and profit and life, Now come with me into the realm of silence, vastness, a new existence after the crossing the greatest of all threshold. I'll go first. I'll wait for you and take your hand if you're scared. The fear won't last long, I promise, but the wonder will be endless.. (Report) Reply

  • Vishnu V (2/10/2014 3:41:00 AM)

    i am not sure what Walt means in this beautifully crafted poem.The only thing i can imagine is that there will be a time once in your life where you have to stop all the thing you are doin and drown into the place where you throw away your books, passion, art whatever you are because the day is done and lessons you have learned from your life is done.
    you are coming back now but uou are silent, gazing and thikin over the things you love most in your life was it worth it after all there is Night wher you will sleep and one day you will die and above you there will be stars. (Report) Reply

  • Karen Sinclair (4/11/2013 6:03:00 PM)

    I am limited on my education so feel timid even placing my reaction here but I loved this piece as it felt as a sigh of relief after a day of busy thoughts. I really appreciated how his words seemed unrestricted just natural in itself as one would be just before drifting off. (Report) Reply

  • Besa Dede (4/11/2013 12:24:00 PM)

    A clear Midnight's description-prose, indeed. It's time for the soul to open its wings and fly where the body was limited of trodding during the day. (Report) Reply

  • Stephen W (12/26/2012 8:29:00 PM)

    Must take issue with Juan Olivarez. To be qualified to have a view on a poem is merely to be alive.
    Doesn't mean I sympathise with smart-alecks who just hack away at poets to try to appear clever.
    But you won't stop that by asking for qualifications.
    re William S suggestion that the poem is incorrectly quoted here, I can't see any obvious means of communicating with the editors of this site, which is a serious limitation. (Report) Reply

  • Allison Helman (4/11/2012 12:35:00 PM)

    This is descriptive of the peak artistic experience. Through the confluence of all the arts conducting The Divine astrally which is similar to I Sing the body Electric conducting The Divine through flesh. (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (4/11/2012 10:55:00 AM)

    Whitman lead a busy life; teaching, writing and editing newspapers. He's simply, poetically stating that a good nights sleep rejuvanates the creative soul. (Report) Reply

  • Sankaran Ayya (4/11/2012 7:52:00 AM)

    Wordswothian style of poem up up my friend quite those barren leaves. Walt Whitman's a few lines
    of beautiful poem.
    --KAVIN CHARALAN (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (11/7/2011 12:46:00 PM)

    Good answer Juan; but, I must say some of your poems are indeed better than Whitmans. (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (4/11/2011 7:34:00 AM)

    This incessant bickering over great poets that deserve their place in immortality and the constant name calling is really childish. I believe all that critique should lay out their qualifications to do so.I don't mind people criticizing me or the other ph poets because we are rank amateurs. However when you elevate yourself to defame great poets(and I never really liked Walt Whitman.) It seems almost sacrilegious. And only the truly qualified should take a stab at it. So, since I have no such qualifications I will watch the rest with interest. (Report) Reply

Read all 33 comments »

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