Walt Whitman

Start Your Free Trial

"The spotted hawk swoops by" completes Whitman's poem, "Song Of Myself." What do lines 7-16 suggest about the theme of Whitman's long, multipart poem? Explain. How is section 52 a fitting conclusion...

"The spotted hawk swoops by" completes Whitman's poem, "Song Of Myself." What do lines 7-16 suggest about the theme of Whitman's long, multipart poem? Explain. How is section 52 a fitting conclusion to the larger work? Explain. 

Expert Answers info

Cleveland Goodman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write249 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

Whitman brings his epic masterpiece to a close with section 52. However, if we have learned anything from the poet, there is no true close. Fittingly, the poem ends on a fifty-second section, much as a year would end with a fifty-second week. Whitman's chronicle of life, the universe, and everything parallels the chronology of one calendar year. Yet as it ends with his winter, if we understand his words, we are not somber. Instead, we realize that the cycle will renew, as it always does. Initially the narrator is "accus[ed] of gab and loitering," and "coax[ed] to the vapor and the dusk" by the natural world around that understands his time has come. Yet the narrator does not diminish; he simply disperses into the greater world around:

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love
As the speaker establishes earlier in his poem, there is no true beginning or end....

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 607 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Eleanora Howe eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write653 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial