Saturday, November 26, 2016

Election Day, November, 1884 by Walt Whitman


Election Day, November, 1884

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene
   and show,
’Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor
   your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops
   ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor
   Mississippi’s stream:
This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still small
   voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the quadrennial
   choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—Texas to
        Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling— (a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s): the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart pants,
      life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

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