English poetry

Poems in English


Longings for Home

O MAGNET-SOUTH! O glistening, perfumed South! My South!
O quick mettle, rich blood, impulse, and love! Good and evil! O all dear to me!
O dear to me my birth-things-All moving things, and the trees where I was
born-the
grains,
plants, rivers;
Dear to me my own slow sluggish rivers where they flow, distant, over flats of silvery
sands,
or
through swamps;
Dear to me the Roanoke, the Savannah, the Altamahaw, the Pedee, the Tombigbee, the Santee,
the
Coosa, and the Sabine;
O pensive, far away wandering, I return with my Soul to haunt their banks again;
Again in Florida I float on transparent lakes-I float on the Okeechobee-I cross
the
hummock land, or through pleasant openings, or dense forests;
I see the parrots in the woods-I see the papaw tree and the blossoming titi;
Again, sailing in my coaster, on deck, I coast off Georgia-I coast up the Carolinas,
I see where the live-oak is growing-I see where the yellow-pine, the scented
bay-tree, the
lemon and orange, the cypress, the graceful palmetto;
I pass rude sea-headlands and enter Pamlico Sound through an inlet, and dart my vision
inland;
O the cotton plant! the growing fields of rice, sugar, hemp!
The cactus, guarded with thorns-the laurel-tree, with large white flowers;
The range afar-the richness and barrenness-the old woods charged with mistletoe
and
trailing moss,
The piney odor and the gloom-the awful natural stillness, (Here in these dense swamps
the
freebooter carries his gun, and the fugitive slave has his conceal’d hut;)
O the strange fascination of these half-known, half-impassable swamps, infested by
reptiles,
resounding with the bellow of the alligator, the sad noises of the night-owl and the
wild-cat,
and
the whirr of the rattlesnake;
The mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing all the forenoon-singing through the
moon-lit
night,
The humming-bird, the wild turkey, the raccoon, the opossum;
A Tennessee corn-field-the tall, graceful, long-leav’d corn-slender,
flapping,
bright
green with tassels-with beautiful ears, each well-sheath’d in its husk;
An Arkansas prairie-a sleeping lake, or still bayou;
O my heart! O tender and fierce pangs-I can stand them not-I will depart;
O to be a Virginian, where I grew up! O to be a Carolinian!
O longings irrepressible! O I will go back to old Tennessee, and never wander more!


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Poem Longings for Home - Walt Whitman