BY WALT WHITMAN
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
Walt Whitman was born on Long Island in 1819 and died in New Jersey in 1892. He is considered the father of free verse and is one of America’s most influential poets.
He self-published “Leaves of Grass,” which was considered to be obscene because of its sensuality.
During the Civil War Whitman went to Washington and worked in a hospital caring for wounded soldiers.