Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE OX-TAMER, by WALT WHITMAN



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THE OX-TAMER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In a far-away northern county in the placid pastoral region
Last Line: In the northern county far, in the placid pastoral region.
Subject(s): Animals; Oxen


In a far-away northern county in the placid pastoral region,
Lives my farmer friend, the theme of my recitative, a
famous tamer of oxen,
There they bring him the three-year-olds and the
four-year-olds to break them,
He will take the wildest steer in the world and break him
and tame him,
He will go fearless without any whip where the young
bullock chafes up and down the yard,
The bullock's head tosses restless high in the air with raging eyes,
Yet see you! how soon his rage subsides -- how soon this
tamer tames him;
See you! on the farms hereabouts a hundred oxen young and
old, and he is the man who has tamed them,
They all know him, all are affectionate to him;
See you! some are such beautiful animals, so lofty looking;
Some are buff-color'd, some mottled, one has a white line
running along his back, some are brindled,
Some have wide flaring horns (a good sign) -- see you! the
bright hides,
See, the two with stars on their foreheads -- see, the
round bodies and broad backs,
How straight and square they stand on their legs -- what
fine sagacious eyes!
How they watch their tamer -- they wish him near them --
how they turn to look after him!
What yearning expression! how uneasy they are when he moves
away from them;
Now I marvel what it can be he appears to them, (books,
politics, poems, depart -- all else departs,)
I confess I envy only his fascination -- my silent, illiterate friend,
Whom a hundred oxen love there in his life on farms,
In the northern county far, in the placid pastoral region.





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