Walt Whitman is known for his typical way of writing. At the time he began writing, people started asking questions why his poems did not rhyme. It’s because Whitman used free verse for his poetry. I hear America singing describes the sounds he hears from people of different social classes singing their song.
It doesn’t really matter to Whitman who sings. All social classes combined are one big song, America singing. Or rather, Americans singing. Music was of importance to Whitman. In this case it can provide a band for all kinds of people.
At the risk of becoming giving a political statement: isn’t it time (again) for people to start listening to the different songs in one nation? I am not only referring to the United States. Also in other countries people are forgetting about what forms the basis of a nation. This isn’t all the cause of just one group. Many countries were formed at a time when different people moved there. Yes, in some cases this led to a certain negativity. But it also led to good things.
Whitman believed that poetry was the strongest way to share feelings. Instead of the word “sing” you can use the word “write.” In this case it’s all about the American identity. But one can easily replace any reference to the United States with some other country. In this article I will (of course) use the poem as written down by Whitman, the original one. You decide if you want to turn this poem.
I Hear America Singing
By Walt Whitman
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.