Walt Whitman: Poems

Leaves of Grass: Despairing Cries


Despairing cries float ceaselessly toward me, day and night,

The sad voice of Death--the call of my nearest lover, putting forth,

alarmed, uncertain,

"The Sea I am quickly to sail: come tell me,

Come tell me where I am speeding--tell me my destination."


I understand your anguish, but I cannot help you;

I approach, hear, behold--the sad mouth, the look out of the eyes, your

mute inquiry,

"_Whither I go from the bed I recline on, come tell me_."

Old age, alarmed, uncertain--A young woman's voice, appealing to me for


A young man's voice, "_Shall I not escape_?"