Treasure Island

Walt Whitman

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

City Of Ships



CITY of ships!
(O the black ships! O the fierce ships!
O the beautiful, sharp-bow'd steam-ships and sail-ships!)
City of the world! (for all races are here;
All the lands of the earth make contributions here;)
City of the sea! city of hurried and glittering tides!
City whose gleeful tides continually rush or recede, whirling in and
out, with eddies and foam!
City of wharves and stores! city of tall façades of marble and iron!
Proud and passionate city! mettlesome, mad, extravagant city!
Spring up, O city! not for peace alone, but be indeed yourself,
warlike! 10
Fear not! submit to no models but your own, O city!
Behold me! incarnate me, as I have incarnated you!
I have rejected nothing you offer'd me--whom you adopted, I have
adopted;
Good or bad, I never question you--I love all--I do not condemn
anything;
I chant and celebrate all that is yours--yet peace no more;
In peace I chanted peace, but now the drum of war is mine;
War, red war, is my song through your streets, O city!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Riquetta Elliott (10/8/2007 11:05:00 AM)

    I agree with Briana beacuse maybe he's talking about the Civil War or he is just writing about the city that he is feeling. (Report) Reply

  • Kyle Miller (12/8/2005 10:57:00 AM)

    This poem comes across to me as a man that has grew up in a peaceful city but now the city has turned and he must attempt to restore it. (Report) Reply

  • Briana Russo (12/2/2005 11:00:00 AM)

    Perhaps kristine, he isn't talking about a specific city, maybe the 'City of the world..' or perhaps America if he is talking about the Civil War. Or maybe he is just writing about a city in a general sense of the feeling of a city. (Report) Reply

  • Stephen Cummins (12/2/2005 11:00:00 AM)

    i dont think Whitman is talking about a certain city in general but how all people feel of their hometown, where they grew and hope to live their life, to protect and care for, and preserve for ever (Report) Reply

  • Kristine Petersen (12/2/2005 10:54:00 AM)

    I have no idea what city for sure he is talking about. He might be talking about New York.
    He is trying to encourage a city's patriotism for the Civil War. (Report) Reply

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