Walt Whitman

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

Beat! Beat! Drums!

Poem by Walt Whitman

BEAT! beat! drums!--Blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows--through doors--burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation;
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet--no happiness must he have now with
his bride;
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, plowing his field or gathering his
So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums--so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums!--Blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities--over the rumble of wheels in the streets:
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? No sleepers
must sleep in those beds; 10
No bargainers' bargains by day--no brokers or speculators--Would they
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums--you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums!--Blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley--stop for no expostulation;
Mind not the timid--mind not the weeper or prayer;
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man;
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties;
Make even the trestles to shake the dead, where they lie awaiting the
hearses, 20
So strong you thump, O terrible drums--so loud you bugles blow.

Comments about Beat! Beat! Drums! by Walt Whitman

  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (9/19/2019 9:08:00 PM)

    Rousing sound words, words which echo in the distance.
    'Beat! beat! drums! - Blow! bugles! blow! ' I would like to have heard that.(Report)Reply

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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (2/29/2016 10:51:00 PM)

    Mind blowing drum beats and blowing bugles that escalate the madness for war. Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • * Sunprincess * (2/29/2016 9:54:00 PM)

    .........beautiful opening line....fantastic flow ★(Report)Reply

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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (2/29/2016 2:07:00 PM)

    The things that Walt Whitman can do to his readers is unmatched! That drum beat permeates the poem and we read it to the beat of that drum, that persistent drum beating like our heart, beating like the heart of a nation on the brink of catastrophe(Report)Reply

    25 person liked.
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  • Kim BarneyKim Barney (2/29/2016 7:55:00 AM)

    A classic poem, but let's forget the drums and the bugles, and forget the wars. Let's have peace.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • Barry MiddletonBarry Middleton (2/29/2016 6:04:00 AM)

    Some things never change.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (2/29/2016 5:34:00 AM)

    Drum beat! There is no peace on earth today. Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • M Asim NehalM Asim Nehal (2/29/2016 12:45:00 AM)

    Even today this poem stands valid, a masterpiece indeed.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Robert Howard (11/2/2006 9:47:00 AM)

    One of Whitman's greatest masterpieces! It places the collective madness of war into the context of the lives that are ploughed into them.

    There are many musical settings of this text but the one by Ralph Vaughan Williams stands out in my mind for capturing the soul of this monument.(Report)Reply

    14 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: school, happiness, child, peace, mother, sleep, night, children, city, rose

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002