In Cabin'd Ships at Sea


In Cabin'd Ships at Sea was published in Whitman's collection, Leaves of Grass (1855).
Bonaventura Peeters, Sunlight on a Story Sea, 1640s
In cabin'd ships at sea,
  The boundless blue on every side expanding,
  With whistling winds and music of the waves, the large imperious 
  Or some lone bark buoy'd on the dense marine,
  Where joyous full of faith, spreading white sails,
  She cleaves the ether mid the sparkle and the foam of day, 
or under many a star at night,
  By sailors young and old haply will I, a reminiscence of the land, 
be read, In full rapport at last.

  Here are our thoughts, voyagers' thoughts,
  Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by them 
be said,
  The sky o'erarches here, we feel the undulating deck beneath 
our feet,
  We feel the long pulsation, ebb and flow of endless motion,
  The tones of unseen mystery, the vague and vast suggestions 
of the briny world, the liquid-flowing syllables,
  The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy 
  The boundless vista and the horizon far and dim are all here,
  And this is ocean's poem.

  Then falter not O book, fulfil your destiny,
  You not a reminiscence of the land alone,
  You too as a lone bark cleaving the ether, purpos'd I know not
      whither, yet ever full of faith,
  Consort to every ship that sails, sail you!
  Bear forth to them folded my love, (dear mariners, for you 
I fold it here in every leaf;)
  Speed on my book! spread your white sails my little bark athwart 
the imperious waves,
  Chant on, sail on, bear o'er the boundless blue from me to 
every sea,
  This song for mariners and all their ships.


facebook share button twitter share button reddit share button share on pinterest pinterest

Add In Cabin'd Ships at Sea to your library.

Return to the Walt Whitman library , or . . . Read the next poem; I Sing the Body Electric

© 2022