Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEATH'S VALLEY, by WALT WHITMAN



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DEATH'S VALLEY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nay, do not dream, designer dark
Last Line: Sweet, peaceful, welcome death.
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Inness, George (1825-1894); Paintings & Painters; Religion; Theology


Nay, do not dream, designer dark,
Thou hast portray'd or hit thy theme entire;
I, hoverer of late by this dark valley, by its confines,
having glimpses of it,
Here enter lists with thee, claiming my right to make a symbol too.
For I have seen many wounded soldiers die,
After dread suffering -- have seen their lives pass off with smiles;
And I have watch'd the death-hours of the old; and seen the
infant die;
The rich, with all his nurses and his doctors;
And then the poor, in meagerness and poverty;
And I myself for long, O Death, have breath'd my every breath
Amid the nearness and the silent thought of thee.

And out of these and thee,
I make a scene, a song (not fear of thee,
Nor gloom's ravines, nor bleak, nor dark -- for I do not fear thee,
Nor celebrate the struggle, or contortion, or hard-tied knot,
Of the broad blessed light and perfect air, with meadows,
rippling tides, and trees and flowers and grass,
And the low hum of living breeze -- and in the midst God's
beautiful eternal right hand,
Thee, holiest minister of Heaven -- thee, envoy, usherer,
guide at last of all,
Rich, florid, loosener of the stricture-knot call'd life,
Sweet, peaceful, welcome Death.





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