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About this Poem 

This version of “I Hear America Singing” appeared in the 1867 edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The original version appeared as number 20 in the section titled Chants Democratic in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass.

I Hear America Singing

Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
     and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
     work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the
     deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
     as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the
     morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at
     work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
     fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass and, along with Emily Dickinson, is considered one of the architects of a uniquely American poetic voice. 

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O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack,
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      While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red,
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The world below the brine;   
Forests at the bottom of the sea—the branches and leaves,   
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds—
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Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold—
      the play of light through the water
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1

When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd,   
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,   
I mourn'd—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.   
   
O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;   
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,
And thought of