Walt Whitman: Poems

Leaves of Grass: A Ship


Aboard, at the ship's helm,

A young steersman, steering with care.

A bell through fog on a sea-coast dolefully ringing,

An ocean-bell--O a warning bell, rocked by the waves.

O you give good notice indeed, you bell by the sea-reefs ringing,

Ringing, ringing, to warn the ship from its wreck-place.

For, as on the alert, O steersman, you mind the bell's admonition,

The bows turn,--the freighted ship, tacking, speeds away under her grey


The beautiful and noble ship, with all her precious wealth, speeds away

gaily and safe.


But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard the ship!

O ship of the body--ship of the soul--voyaging, voyaging, voyaging.