What is section fourteen about in Whitman's poem "Song of Myself"?

1 Answer | Add Yours

wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This beautiful passage continues Whitman’s “Song of Myself” as he associates his essence with Nature’s and Civilization’s rhythms, especially concentrating on the sounds of Nature (the sound of a flock of geese overhead) and the protective instincts of parents (“the litter of the grunting sow”; “the brood of the turkey-hen”).  Whitman identifies with the simple actions of Nature, and does not ask Nature to deviate to accommodate him (“Not asking the sky to come down to my good will”).  This “song” establishes the humility of Whitman’s view of himself (“What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me”).  Whitman, far from cluttering his writing with arbitrary phrases, joins Nature by carefully observing and identifying with the rhythms, tones, and textures.    “Pert” in this context means saucy, impertinent, unrespectful.  He also continues his litany of human occupations, paying homage to the honest work of sailors, farmers, etc. 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,926 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question