Walt Whitman

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

Warble Of Lilac-Time Poem by Walt Whitman



WARBLE me now, for joy of Lilac-time,
Sort me, O tongue and lips, for Nature's sake, and sweet life's
sake--and death's the same as life's,
Souvenirs of earliest summer--birds' eggs, and the first berries;
Gather the welcome signs, (as children, with pebbles, or stringing
shells;)
Put in April and May--the hylas croaking in the ponds--the elastic
air,
Bees, butterflies, the sparrow with its simple notes,
Blue-bird, and darting swallow--nor forget the high-hole flashing his
golden wings,
The tranquil sunny haze, the clinging smoke, the vapor,
Spiritual, airy insects, humming on gossamer wings,
Shimmer of waters, with fish in them--the cerulean above; 10
All that is jocund and sparkling--the brooks running,
The maple woods, the crisp February days, and the sugar-making;
The robin, where he hops, bright-eyed, brown-breasted,
With musical clear call at sunrise, and again at sunset,
Or flitting among the trees of the apple-orchard, building the nest
of his mate;
The melted snow of March--the willow sending forth its yellow-green
sprouts;
--For spring-time is here! the summer is here! and what is this in it
and from it?
Thou, Soul, unloosen'd--the restlessness after I know not what;
Come! let us lag here no longer--let us be up and away!
O for another world! O if one could but fly like a bird! 20
O to escape--to sail forth, as in a ship!
To glide with thee, O Soul, o'er all, in all, as a ship o'er the
waters!
--Gathering these hints, these preludes--the blue sky, the grass, the
morning drops of dew;
(With additional songs--every spring will I now strike up additional
songs,
Nor ever again forget, these tender days, the chants of Death as well
as Life;)
The lilac-scent, the bushes, and the dark green, heart-shaped leaves,
Wood violets, the little delicate pale blossoms called innocence,
Samples and sorts not for themselves alone, but for their atmosphere,
To tally, drench'd with them, tested by them,
Cities and artificial life, and all their sights and scenes, 30
My mind henceforth, and all its meditations--my recitatives,
My land, my age, my race, for once to serve in songs,
(Sprouts, tokens ever of death indeed the same as life,)
To grace the bush I love--to sing with the birds,
A warble for joy of Lilac-time.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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