Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

184. Thought

AS I sit with others, at a great feast, suddenly, while the music is playing, 
To my mind, (whence it comes I know not,) spectral, in mist, of a wreck at sea; 
Of certain ships—how they sail from port with flying streamers, and wafted kisses—and that is the last of them! 
Of the solemn and murky mystery about the fate of the President; 
Of the flower of the marine science of fifty generations, founder’d off the Northeast coast, and going down—Of the steamship Arctic going down,         5
Of the veil’d tableau—Women gather’d together on deck, pale, heroic, waiting the moment that draws so close—O the moment! 
A huge sob—A few bubbles—the white foam spirting up—And then the women gone, 
Sinking there, while the passionless wet flows on—And I now pondering, Are those women indeed gone? 
Are Souls drown’d and destroy’d so? 
Is only matter triumphant?  10


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