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Can someone paraphrase the poem "Whispers of Heavenly Death" by Walt Whitman?

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ducativiola | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 28, 2012 at 1:26 PM via web

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Can someone paraphrase the poem "Whispers of Heavenly Death" by Walt Whitman?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 28, 2012 at 2:36 PM (Answer #1)

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In "Whispers of Heavenly Death," the speaker notes that death is sad and mournful but it is also a natural part of life. In fact, death is described as a pleasant, almost calming event. The title of the poem conveys this message directly with the adjective "heavenly." Other words in the poem add to this depiction of death as a tranquil, spiritual event. Death is not violent; it is whispered. Death "gently" ascends like "mystical breezes." In the end, death is not loss; it is an invisible birth, the birth of the soul. 

Death is also described as something that is always occurring and that it is like a calming presence. The last lines describe death as an invisible march of souls analogous to the circulation of the air, "On the frontiers, to eyes impenetrable,/Some soul is passing over." The images of flowing water and swelling clouds could represent a graceful funeral procession and the fluid, free movement of immaterial souls. 

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