Spotlight Poetry – A Song of Joys – A Poem by Walt Whitman

The image depicts a painting titled Let the Joy by the artist Lucianna Whittle. The work is a vibrant abstract painting. The artist has used a palette of rainbow cold and warm colours that infer the overflowing meaning of joy.The image supports the poem  A Song of Joys written by Walt Whitman the poet.
© Lucianna Whittle, Let the Joy, 2019

A Song of Joys by Walt Whitman

O to make the most jubilant song!
Full of music-full of manhood, womanhood, infancy!
Full of common employments-full of grain and trees.

O for the voices of animals-O for the swiftness and balance of fishes!
O for the dropping of raindrops in a song!
O for the sunshine and motion of waves in a song!

O the joy of my spirit-it is uncaged-it darts like lightning!
It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time,
I will have thousands of globes and all time.

O the engineer’s joys! to go with a locomotive!
To hear the hiss of steam, the merry shriek, the steam-whistle, the
laughing locomotive!
To push with resistless way and speed off in the distance.

O the gleesome saunter over fields and hillsides!
The leaves and flowers of the commonest weeds, the moist fresh
stillness of the woods,
The exquisite smell of the earth at daybreak, and all through the

O the horseman’s and horsewoman’s joys!
The saddle, the gallop, the pressure upon the seat, the cool
gurgling by the ears and hair.

O the fireman’s joys!
I hear the alarm at dead of night,
I hear bells, shouts! I pass the crowd, I run!
The sight of the flames maddens me with pleasure.

O the joy of the strong-brawn’d fighter, towering in the arena in
perfect condition, conscious of power, thirsting to meet his

O the joy of that vast elemental sympathy which only the human
soul is capable of generating and emitting in steady and
limitless floods.

O the mother’s joys!
The watching, the endurance, the precious love, the anguish, the
patiently yielded life.

Poem Attribution © Walt Whitman, A Song of Joys

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Painting Attribution © Lucianna Whittle, Let the Joy, 2019

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Spotlight Poetry – Italian Music in Dakota – A Poem by Walt Whitman

The image depicts a painting titled The Band Entering Buckingham Palace by the artist. The work is a military figurative painting of guardsmen playing in the military band entering Bucking Palace. The image supports the poem Italian Music in Dakota written by the poet Walt Whitman.
© Harry Payne, The Band Entering Buckingham Palace, c. 1905

Italian Music in Dakota by Walt Whitman

[“The Seventeenth—the finest Regimental Band I ever heard.”]

Through the soft evening air enwinding all,
Rocks, woods, fort, cannon, pacing sentries, endless wilds,

In dulcet streams, in flutes’ and cornets’ notes,
Electric, pensive, turbulent, artificial,
(Yet strangely fitting even here, meanings unknown before,
Subtler than ever, more harmony, as if born here, related here,

Not to the city’s fresco’d rooms, not to the audience of the opera house,
Sounds, echoes, wandering strains, as really here at home,
Sonnambula’s innocent love, trios with Norma’s anguish,
And thy ecstatic chorus Poliuto;)

Ray’d in the limpid yellow slanting sundown,
Music, Italian music in Dakota.

While Nature, sovereign of this gnarl’d realm,
Lurking in hidden barbaric grim recesses,

Acknowledging rapport however far remov’d,
(As some old root or soil of earth its last-born flower or fruit,)
Listens well pleas’d.

Poem Attribution © Walt Whitman, Italian Music in  Dakota

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Painting Attribution © Harry Payne, The Band Entering Buckingham Palace, c. 1905

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Spotlight Poetry – Proud Music of the Storm – A poem by Walt Whitman

The image depicts a painting titled Abstract Storm by the artist Svet Gencheva. The work is an abstract, expressionist landscape painting. The work captures through its use of broad swathes of flowing layers of whites, blues, ochres, greys, copper and purples the essence of a mighty storm sweeping across an imaginary landscape.
© Svet Gencheva, Storm, 2020

Proud Music of the Storm (Extract) by Walt Whitman


Proud music of the storm,
Blast that careers so free, whistling across the prairies,

Strong hum of forest tree-tops—wind of the mountains,
Personified dim shapes—you hidden orchestras,
You serenades of phantoms with instruments alert,
Blending with Nature’s rhythmus all the tongues of nations;

You chords left as by vast composers—you choruses,
You formless, free, religious dances—you from the Orient,
You undertone of rivers, roar of pouring cataracts,
You sounds from distant guns with galloping cavalry,

Echoes of camps with all the different bugle-calls,
Trooping tumultuous, filling the midnight late, bending me power-less,

Entering my lonesome slumber-chamber, why have you seiz’d me?


Come forward O my soul, and let the rest retire,
Listen, lose not, it is toward thee they tend,
Parting the midnight, entering my slumber-chamber,

For thee they sing and dance O soul.

Poem Attribution © Walt Whitman, Proud Music of the Storm

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Painting Attribution © Svet Gencheva, Storm, 2020

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Spotlight Poetry – Miracles – A poem by Walt Whitman 

© Maria A, Miracles of Nature, 2019

Miracles by Walt Whitman 

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,

Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
ships with men in them,

What stranger miracles are there?

Poem Attribution © Walt Whitman, Miracles

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Painting Attribution © Maria A, Miracles of Nature, 2019

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Poetry Plus – That Music Always Round Me – A poem by Walt Whitman

That Music Always Round Me by Walt Whitman

Conductor’s Baton Raised

Conductor’s baton raised
The orchestra starts to play
Emotions explode

Walt Whitman (1819 -1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works.

Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sensuality.

The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892.

At age 11, Whitman left formal schooling to go to work. Later, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, and a government clerk.

During the American Civil War, he went to Washington, D.C. and worked in hospitals caring for the wounded.

Whitman’s poetry often focused on both loss and healing. On the death of Abraham Lincoln, whom Whitman greatly admired, he wrote his well known poems, “O Captain! My Captain!” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”, and gave a series of lectures.

Whitman’s influence on poetry remains strong.

Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe argued:

“You cannot really understand America without Walt Whitman, without Leaves of Grass … He has expressed that civilization, ‘up to date,’ as he would say, and no student of the philosophy of history can do without him.”

Modernist poet Ezra Pound called Whitman,

“America’s poet … He is America.”

That Music Always Round Me by Walt Whitman

That music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning—
yet long untaught I did not hear;
But now the chorus I hear, and am elated;

A tenor, strong, ascending, with power and health,
with glad notes of day-break I hear,
A soprano, at intervals, sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense waves,

A transparent bass, shuddering lusciously under and through the universe,
The triumphant tutti—the funeral wailings, with sweet flutes and violins—all
these I
fill myself with;

I hear not the volumes of sound merely—
I am moved by the exquisite meanings,
I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery

to excel each other in emotion;
I do not think the performers know themselves—
but now I think I begin to know them.

Bio Reference Attribution

Poem Attribution © Walt Whitman, That Music Always Round Me

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Senryū Attribution Goff James, Conductor’s Baton Raised

Copyright (c) 2021 Goff James – All Rights Reserved 

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Photo Attribution © George C. Cox, Walt Whitman, 1887

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Painting Attribution Inna Shavyrina, The Sun Music, (Date Unstated)

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