Song For All Seas, All Ships
TO-DAY a rude brief recitative,
Of ships sailing the Seas, each with its special flag or ship-signal;
Of unnamed heroes in the ships--Of waves spreading and spreading, far
as the eye can reach;
Of dashing spray, and the winds piping and blowing;
And out of these a chant, for the sailors of all nations,
Fitful, like a surge.
Of Sea-Captains young or old, and the Mates--and of all intrepid
Of the few, very choice, taciturn, whom fate can never surprise, nor
Pick'd sparingly, without noise, by thee, old Ocean--chosen by
Thou Sea, that pickest and cullest the race, in Time, and unitest
Suckled by thee, old husky Nurse--embodying thee!
Indomitable, untamed as thee.
(Ever the heroes, on water or on land, by ones or twos appearing,
Ever the stock preserv'd, and never lost, though rare--enough for
Flaunt out O Sea, your separate flags of nations!
Flaunt out, visible as ever, the various ship-signals!
But do you reserve especially for yourself, and for the soul of man,
one flag above all the rest,
A spiritual woven Signal, for all nations, emblem of man elate above
Token of all brave captains, and all intrepid sailors and mates,
And all that went down doing their duty;
Reminiscent of them--twined from all intrepid captains, young or old;
A pennant universal, subtly waving, all time, o'er all brave sailors,
All seas, all ships.
Walt Whitman's Other Poems
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