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Ten Poems by Walt Whitman

Word count: 1041

Song Cycle by Silvan Loher (b. 1986)

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1. To you [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Stranger, if you passing, meet me,
And desire to speak to me,
Why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. As if a phantom caress’d me [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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As if a phantom caress’d me,	 
I thought I was not alone, walking here by the shore;	 
But the one I thought was with me, as now I walk by the shore — 
    the one I loved, that caress’d me,	 
As I lean and look through the glimmering light,
that one has utterly disappear’d,	 
And those appear that are hateful to me, and mock me.


Submitted by Tino Brütsch

3. Aroused and angry [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Aroused and angry, I thought to beat the alarum, 
and urge relentless war; 
But soon my fingers fail’d me, my face droop’d, 
and I resign’d myself, 
To sit by the wounded and soothe them, 
or silently watch the dead….


Submitted by Tino Brütsch

4. A prairie sunset [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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A prairie sunset: Shot gold, maroon and violet, 
dazzling silver, emerald, fawn, 
The earth’s whole amplitude and nature’s multiform power 
consigned for once to colors; 
The light, the genial air possessed by them; 
colors till now unknown, no limit, confine; 
not the Western sky alone; the high meridian; 
North, South, all, pure luminous color 
fighting the silent shadows to the last.


Submitted by Tino Brütsch

5. A clear midnight [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): CAT FRE FRE GER GER GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death, and the stars.


Portions of this text were used in Idyll by Frederick Delius.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Soon shall the winter's foil be here [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Soon shall the winter's foil be here;
soon shall these icy ligatures 
unbind and melt — a little while,
and air, soil, wave, suffused shall be in softness, 
bloom and growth — a thousand forms shall rise
from these dead clods and chills 
as from low burial graves.
Thine eyes, ears — all thy best attributes — 
all that takes cognizance of natural beauty,
shall wake and fill. 
Thou shalt perceive the simple shows, 
the delicate miracles of earth,
Dandelions, clover, the emerald grass, 
the early scents and flowers,
the arbutus under foot, the willow's yellow-green, 
the blossoming plum and cherry;
with these the robin, lark and thrush, 
singing their songs — the flitting bluebird;
for such the scenes the annual play brings on.


Submitted by Tino Brütsch

7. Joy, Shipmate, Joy [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): CAT FRE

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Alegra’t company de bord, alegra’t!", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Joy, shipmate, joy!
(Pleas'd to my soul at death I cry,)
Our life is closed, our life begins,
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last, she leaps!
She swiftly courses from the shore,
Joy, shipmate, joy.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. To The States [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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To The States, or any one of them,
    or any city of The States, 
    Resist much, obey little;	 
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;	 
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, 
    ever afterward resumes its liberty.


Confirmed with Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass, Philadelphia: David McKay, c1900.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. Of him I love day and night [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Of him I love day and night I dream'd I heard he was dead,
And I dream'd I went where they had buried him I love, but he was not in that place,
And I dream'd I wander'd searching among burial-places to find him,
And I found that every place was a burial place;
The houses full of life were equally full of death, (this house is now),
The streets, the shipping, the places of amusement,
the Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, the Manahatta, were as full of the dead as of the living,
And fuller, 0 vastly fuller of the dead than of the living;
And what I dream'd I will henceforth tell to every person and age,
And I stand henceforth bound to what I dream'd,
And now I am willing to disregard burial-places and dispense with them,
And if the memorials of the dead were put up indifferently everywhere,
even in the room where I eat or sleep, I should be satisfied,
And if the corpse of any one I love, or if my own corpse,
be duly render'd to powder and pour'd in the sea, I shall be satisfied.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. I tramp a perpetual journey [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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[ ... ]
I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!) My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods, No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, I have no chair, no church, no philosophy, I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange, But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, My left hand hooking you round the waist, My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself.
[ ... ]

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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