Walt Whitman

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

Night On The Prairies



NIGHT on the prairies;
The supper is over--the fire on the ground burns low;
The wearied emigrants sleep, wrapt in their blankets:
I walk by myself--I stand and look at the stars, which I think now I
never realized before.

Now I absorb immortality and peace,
I admire death, and test propositions.

How plenteous! How spiritual! How resumé!
The same Old Man and Soul--the same old aspirations, and the same
content.

I was thinking the day most splendid, till I saw what the not-day
exhibited,
I was thinking this globe enough, till there sprang out so noiseless
around me myriads of other globes. 10

Now, while the great thoughts of space and eternity fill me, I will
measure myself by them;
And now, touch'd with the lives of other globes, arrived as far along
as those of the earth,
Or waiting to arrive, or pass'd on farther than those of the earth,
I henceforth no more ignore them, than I ignore my own life,
Or the lives of the earth arrived as far as mine, or waiting to
arrive.

O I see now that life cannot exhibit all to me--as the day cannot,
I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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