Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


A Clear Midnight

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.

Credit


About "A Clear Midnight"

This final poem in the section "From Noon to Starry Night" in the seventh edition of Leaves of Grass (1881), is, in the words of Edward Hirsch, "about releasing the soul back into the universe." Hirsch, who has defined a poem as "a soul in action through words," connects Whitman's poem with the essay "The Poet" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a mentor of Whitman's: "Here we find ourselves suddenly, not in a critical speculation, but in a holy place, and should go very warily and reverently."

Author


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. 

Date Published: 1891-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/clear-midnight