Walt Whitman

Here you will find the Long Poem To Think Of Time of poet Walt Whitman

To Think Of Time

To think of time--of all that retrospection!
 To think of to-day, and the ages continued henceforward!

 Have you guess'd you yourself would not continue?
 Have you dreaded these earth-beetles?
 Have you fear'd the future would be nothing to you?

 Is to-day nothing? Is the beginningless past nothing?
 If the future is nothing, they are just as surely nothing.

 To think that the sun rose in the east! that men and women were
 flexible, real, alive! that everything was alive!
 To think that you and I did not see, feel, think, nor bear our part!
 To think that we are now here, and bear our part! 10

 Not a day passes--not a minute or second, without an accouchement!
 Not a day passes--not a minute or second, without a corpse!

 The dull nights go over, and the dull days also,
 The soreness of lying so much in bed goes over,
 The physician, after long putting off, gives the silent and terrible
 look for an answer,
 The children come hurried and weeping, and the brothers and sisters
 are sent for,
 Medicines stand unused on the shelf--(the camphor-smell has long
 pervaded the rooms,)
 The faithful hand of the living does not desert the hand of the
 The twitching lips press lightly on the forehead of the dying,
 The breath ceases, and the pulse of the heart ceases, 20
 The corpse stretches on the bed, and the living look upon it,
 It is palpable as the living are palpable.

 The living look upon the corpse with their eye-sight,
 But without eye-sight lingers a different living, and looks curiously
 on the corpse.

 To think the thought of Death, merged in the thought of materials!
 To think that the rivers will flow, and the snow fall, and fruits
 ripen, and act upon others as upon us now--yet not act upon us!
 To think of all these wonders of city and country, and others taking
 great interest in them--and we taking no interest in them!

 To think how eager we are in building our houses!
 To think others shall be just as eager, and we quite indifferent!

 (I see one building the house that serves him a few years, or seventy
 or eighty years at most, 30
 I see one building the house that serves him longer than that.)

 Slow-moving and black lines creep over the whole earth--they never
 cease--they are the burial lines,
 He that was President was buried, and he that is now President shall
 surely be buried.

 A reminiscence of the vulgar fate,
 A frequent sample of the life and death of workmen,
 Each after his kind:
 Cold dash of waves at the ferry-wharf--posh and ice in the river,
 half-frozen mud in the streets, a gray, discouraged sky
 overhead, the short, last daylight of Twelfth-month,
 A hearse and stages--other vehicles give place--the funeral of an old
 Broadway stage-driver, the cortege mostly drivers.

 Steady the trot to the cemetery, duly rattles the death-bell, the
 gate is pass'd, the new-dug grave is halted at, the living
 alight, the hearse uncloses,
 The coffin is pass'd out, lower'd and settled, the whip is laid on
 the coffin, the earth is swiftly shovel'd in, 40
 The mound above is flatted with the spades--silence,
 A minute--no one moves or speaks--it is done,
 He is decently put away--is there anything more?

 He was a good fellow, free-mouth'd, quick-temper'd, not bad-looking,
 able to take his own part, witty, sensitive to a slight, ready
 with life or death for a friend, fond of women, gambled, ate
 hearty, drank hearty, had known what it was to be flush, grew
 low-spirited toward the last, sicken'd, was help'd by a
 contribution, died, aged forty-one years--and that was his

 Thumb extended, finger uplifted, apron, cape, gloves, strap, wet-
 weather clothes, whip carefully chosen, boss, spotter, starter,
 hostler, somebody loafing on you, you loafing on somebody,
 headway, man before and man behind, good day's work, bad day's
 work, pet stock, mean stock, first out, last out, turning-in at
 To think that these are so much and so nigh to other drivers--and he
 there takes no interest in them!

 The markets, the government, the working-man's wages--to think what
 account they are through our nights and days!
 To think that other working-men will make just as great account of
 them--yet we make little or no account!

 The vulgar and the refined--what you call sin, and what you call
 goodness--to think how wide a difference!
 To think the difference will still continue to others, yet we lie
 beyond the difference. 50

 To think how much pleasure there is!
 Have you pleasure from looking at the sky? have you pleasure from
 Do you enjoy yourself in the city? or engaged in business? or
 planning a nomination and election? or with yo