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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

309. Despairing Cries


DESPAIRING cries float ceaselessly toward me, day and night,

The sad voice of Death—the call of my nearest lover, putting forth, alarmed, uncertain,

This sea I am quickly to sail, come tell me,

Come tell me where I am speeding—tell me my destination.


I understand your anguish, but I cannot help you,

I approach, hear, behold—the sad mouth, the look out of the eyes, your mute inquiry,

Whither I go from the bed I now recline on, come tell me;

Old age, alarmed, uncertain—A young woman’s voice appealing to me, for comfort,

A young man’s voice, Shall I not escape?