It has been a while since we covered Walt Whitman. It’s time for the poem O Me! O Life! A poem about a foolish city in which he is not much better.
About the poem
O Me! O Life! is a typical example of free verse with self reflection. Whitman gives in to the thought that he is always out for something better than he has. The poem, as it is free verse, lacks structure or rhyme. At the end he gives the answer he is searching for in this poem. There is enough to live for and any fruitless search for something better would do life no good.
Wise words, written a long time ago. Published in the year that Whitman died (1892) and part of Leaves of Grass.
O Me! O Life!
By Walt Whitman
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.