Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking Questions and Answers
by Walt Whitman

Start Your Free Trial

In "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" by Walt Whitman, who is the messenger? What is the significance of the "messenger's" appearance?

Expert Answers info

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write4,539 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Unlike most of his poems, "Our of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" by Walt Whitman has a bit of a plot. It was originally titled "A Child's Remembrance," and that is the essence of the poem's narrative.

The narrator tells us about his experience as a young boy who once watched a pair of mockingbirds on the beach located near his home. Their relationship is a fascinating to him, but one day everything changes. The "she-bird" does not return home to her companion, and the "he-bird" mourns for his lost mate, waiting for her to return but to no avail. 

The male's mourning cries strike a chord in the boy's soul, and he is able to "translate" what the grieving male bird sings because he has the soul of a poet. The boy is so moved that he then asks nature to reveal to him one word, that word which is "superior to all." As he stands by the ocean and listens, he hears the word: "Death." Both this word and the song of the male bird are a consistent presence in the remainder of the poem.

In an earlier...

(The entire section contains 603 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now















check Approved by eNotes Editorial