Walt Whitman: Poems

Songs of Parting: Realities


As I walk, solitary, unattended,

Around me I hear that eclat of the world--politics, produce,

The announcements of recognised things--science,

The approved growth of cities, and the spread of inventions.

I see the ships, (they will last a few years,)

The vast factories, with their foremen and workmen,

And hear the endorsement of all, and do not object to it.


But I too announce solid things;

Science, ships, politics, cities, factories, are not nothing--they serve,

They stand for realities--all is as it should be.


Then my realities;

What else is so real as mine?

Libertad, and the divine Average-Freedom to every slave on the face of the


The rapt promises and lumine[1] of seers--the spiritual

world--these centuries-lasting songs,

And our visions, the visions of poets, the most solid announcements of any.

For we support all,

After the rest is done and gone, we remain,

There is no final reliance but upon us;

Democracy rests finally upon us, (I, my brethren, begin it,)

And our visions sweep through eternity.

[Footnote 1: I suppose Whitman gets this odd word lumine, by a process of]

his own, out of illuminati, and intends it to stand for what would be

called clairvoyance, intuition.


That you are here--that life exists, and identity;

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.