Poem Set Two American Literature Unit Two The Individual versus Society: Exploring a New Frontier. Because I could not stop for Death (712)

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1 Poem Set Two American Literature Unit Two The Individual versus Society: Exploring a New Frontier 1. Because I could not stop for Death (712) by Emily Dickinson Because I could not stop for Death He kindly stopped for me The Carriage held but just Ourselves And Immortality. We slowly drove He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess in the Ring We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain We passed the Setting Sun Or rather He passed us The Dews drew quivering and chill For only Gossamer, my Gown My Tippet only Tulle We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground The Roof was scarcely visible The Cornice in the Ground Since then 'tis Centuries and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity 1

2 2. I heard a Fly buzz (465) by Emily Dickinson I heard a Fly buzz when I died The Stillness in the Room Was like the Stillness in the Air Between the Heaves of Storm The Eyes around had wrung them dry And Breaths were gathering firm For that last Onset when the King Be witnessed in the Room I willed my Keepsakes Signed away What portions of me be Assignable and then it was There interposed a Fly With Blue uncertain stumbling Buzz Between the light and me And then the Windows failed and then I could not see to see 2

3 3. There's a certain Slant of light (258) by Emily Dickinson There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes Heavenly Hurt, it gives us We can find no scar, But internal difference, Where the Meanings, are None may teach it Any 'Tis the Seal Despair An imperial affliction Sent us of the Air When it comes, the Landscape listens Shadows hold their breath When it goes, 'tis like the Distance On the look of Death 3

4 4. Water, is taught by thirst (135) by Emily Dickinson Water, is taught by thirst. Land by the Oceans passed. Transport by throe Peace by its battles told Love, by Memorial Mold Birds, by the Snow. 4

5 5. Song of Myself, I, II, VI & LII by Walt Whitman ( ) I I Celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass. My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air, Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same, I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin, Hoping to cease not till death. Creeds and schools in abeyance, Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy. II Houses and rooms are full of perfumes... the shelves are crowded with perfumes, I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it, The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it. The atmosphere is not a perfume... it has no taste of the distillation... it is odorless, It is for my mouth forever... I am in love with it, I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked, I am mad for it to be in contact with me. The smoke of my own breath, Echoes, ripples, and buzzed whispers... loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine, My respiration and inspiration... the beating of my heart... the passing of blood and air through my lungs, 5

6 The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and darkcolored sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn, The sound of the belched words of my voice... words loosed to the eddies of the wind, A few light kisses... a few embraces... reaching around of arms, The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag, The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides, The feeling of health... the full-noon trill... the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun. Have you reckoned a thousand acres much? Have you reckoned the earth much? Have you practiced so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun... there are millions of suns left, You shall no longer take things at second or third hand... nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself. VI A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Or I guess if is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt, Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose? Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow 6

7 zones, Growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive then the same. And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves. Tenderly will I use you curling grass, It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men, It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken, It may be if I had known them I would have loved them, soon out of their mother's laps, And here you are the mothers' laps. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers, Darker than the colorless beards of old men, Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues, And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing. I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women, And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier. LII The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering. 7

8 I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. The last scud of day holds back for me, It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds, It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk. 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, If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you. 8

9 6. When I Heard the Learned Astronomer by Walt Whitman When I heard the learn'd astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars. 9

10 7. By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame by Walt Whitman By the bivouac's fitful flame, A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow--but first I note, The tents of the sleeping army, the fields' and woods' dim outline, The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence, Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving, The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily watching me,) While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts, Of life and death, of home and the past and loved, and of those that are far away; A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground, By the bivouac's fitful flame. 10

11 8. O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for you the bugle trills, done, For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. 11

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