Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

A Child's Amaze

SILENT and amazed, even when a little boy,
I remember I heard the preacher every Sunday put God in his
As contending against some being or influence.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002


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  • Rookie - 456 Points Michelle Claus (5/5/2014 11:18:00 AM)

    What I'm puzzling through with A Child's Amaze is the final line: As contending against some being or influence. The way this line is written, I'm not sure if Walt Whitman meant that the preacher himself was contending with some being or influence by putting God into his statements or if the preacher was putting God into his statements to help his parish contend with some being or influence. Is Walt Whitman cynical in this poem or merely reporting an ordinary church experience? Is this poem a commentary? I'm not sure, based on the way the final line is composed. I don't like this poem as much as some of his other works. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joeline Rayment (5/7/2013 12:44:00 AM)

    a strong feeling and opinion in a few words, but yet not one to which i can connect or understand.
    My opinion only, but If a poem is a reflection of a poets thought/feeling then this would be a strong part of Whitman.
    That said, it leaves little for a reader to connect to without the same sharing of understanding. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Claudia Krizay (5/5/2011 4:08:00 PM)

    I don't read trashy novels often but I may have once and never read more because I didn't like it. I gather that Johnny reads porn because he is sexually disturbed. This poem is weak and meaningless to me. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 2,843 Points Pranab K Chakraborty (5/5/2011 9:39:00 AM)

    So strong the power of words, so brilliant the construction with limited words, I can't think the very writing of past days, it confronts the time today when religious leaders leading the community to fought against the people of different religion. It is truth that sometimes common devoted people are being used by some people who dressed themselves by the name of almighty but some dark bossing tendency still exist under their veil to dominate the others. And domination always seeks some lame excuses to be accepted by others by the name of higher authority...may it be by the name of political doctrine or by the name of God. After all, a very good choice by the PH when the globe facing a yellow story of erasing the controversial abscond terrorist leader of a particular religious community. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 443 Points Juan Olivarez (5/5/2010 12:59:00 PM)

    Even though Walt Whitman is not one of my favorites, this poem is direct to the business at hand and says so much with so little. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (5/5/2010 7:39:00 AM)

    Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, some new poems! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie surya . (5/5/2009 11:17:00 PM)

    no doubt what is heard or taught in the childhood will remain with him all the time.if it is about GOd his matured mind has to pick it up later. let us not enforce
    sury surya (Report) Reply

  • Rookie William Stoneberger (5/5/2009 8:05:00 PM)

    must disagree with you Mr. Straw...Whitman is my favorite American poet...and much of what came after in literature and poetry would have never happened without him...Leaves Of Grass is a must read for any aspiring poet...peace & poetics (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 13 Points Joseph Poewhit (5/5/2009 10:22:00 AM)

    'Being or influence', seems to be the keywords in this short verse. Whitman seen the preacher speaking about the evil forces of his time. I would imagine the social evils and the lusts of the time. Though, in that era people were more, local, farmers and workers, with the family and church as the focal point of life.. There was really little outside influence, except for the traveler. The big city, would come into mind, as a place of varied influences. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (5/5/2009 6:18:00 AM)

    i wish i wish i had a hit man
    to whack this poet walter whitman
    and make him write in rhyme and time
    - for this long loose leggy lolloping line
    i find a literary crime! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (5/5/2008 9:09:00 AM)

    Of course, everyone who posts a ditty on this site fires on all cylinders
    each and every time out!

    The speaker comments on an asinine remark a preacher makes in
    church, and instantly recognizes it as such. Would some politicians
    have reacted today, even with the wisdom acquired with age? Read
    the latest news on the presidential race in the US! Whitman's 'little
    boy' can tell a con job when he hears one, even children can resist
    the wool being pulled over their eyes by a master of foolish rhetoric!

    The preacher has in effect negated his belief in a supreme being, as
    even one of tender years perceives. 'A Child's Amaze' requires careful
    reading to understand Whitman's point, don't you think? The poem itself
    is a succinct argument for writing concise poetry! (Report) Reply

Read all 19 comments »

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