Walt Whitman

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

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A Glimpse



A GLIMPSE, through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room, around the stove,
late of a winter night--And I unremark'd seated in a corner;
Of a youth who loves me, and whom I love, silently approaching, and
seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand;
A long while, amid the noises of coming and going--of drinking and
oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little,
perhaps not a word.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Rookie - 1 Points Konigan Barrutman (10/3/2014 1:53:00 PM)

    Ah, this is the right joke - all those people sitting in corners. In pubs. They had nothing on Whitman. He would have sat there all night he would. Plenty of inspiration. And then this other figure...proving he really knows how pubs were in those days. To sit out alone, like that. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,221 Points Kevin Duan (2/9/2012 2:35:00 PM)

    you have a talent for expressing much in your feeling in just a few short sentences (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 315 Points Juan Olivarez (2/9/2011 8:18:00 AM)

    Anastasia Walt Whitman is dead. He has been for over hundred years, I personally did not like Walt Whitmans writings except for a few. Like Captain my Captain, and When Lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed. His poetry to me was too conceited and at the time we studied it in the 60s he just did not measure up to the greats. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 315 Points Anastasia Roze (2/9/2010 6:26:00 PM)

    im not experianced but this poem u wrote is amazing! it is simple but yet expresses some much emotion. Good work! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 78 Points Timothy Caffery (2/9/2010 4:35:00 PM)

    Only if America was caught up in the beauty of his graphic portrayal of human affection instead of blindly addicted to sending boys (and now girls) to die in war. Men giving young men their hands in compassion instead of rifles and uniforms and human targets. Too bad his dream isn't the American Dream, too bad. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 78 Points Terence George Craddock (2/9/2010 11:45:00 AM)

    Interesting comments to come so late upon. Whitman wrote Leaves of Grass, that gave so many readings of illumination, so who cares if he was gay? And if he was? What courage to write it down at the time, originating as Walt did from a Quaker background. With Walt having four handicapped siblings and my own childhood memories of coal mining and logging pubs, I can see other readings from an era extinct, now even in the isolated region of my birth. Is not a strength of this poem, the rural description and invitation to each reader to perceive what they may? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 78 Points Kevin Straw (2/9/2010 7:23:00 AM)

    Whitman includes both himself the poet and himself as the young man by the brilliant line “A GLIMPSE, through an interstice caught…” – he is looking secretly on at himself.

    In this way Whitman shows he is anxious for the young man, who is remarkably untouched by the turbulent macho atmosphere of the bar room, perhaps because he knows which way these situations can turn.

    At the same time he marvels at himself making such a frank and courageous avowal of love in such an unlikely circumstances.

    It is interesting that it is when the youth comes in that Whitman “turns up” the noise of the bar-room. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Ramesh T A (2/9/2010 1:33:00 AM)

    A common sight in a bar on a winter day near the stove to pass the time with known figures is well known for all! It reminds me of coffee house intellectual talkers too! But it is common of day-today chatting place more now than in his times! A casually written poem without any seriousness appeals to ordinary readers very well! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points ata khan (2/9/2009 3:00:00 PM)

    I agree with Joe Powhit regarding this no tv and video.
    Dear readers, kindly read my poem 'My village, winter and hope'
    on the same topic, you'll like it too. THANKS (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Joseph Poewhit (2/9/2009 9:47:00 AM)

    How Whitman captured a moment in time. 'AROUND THE STOVE'. Coal or wood burning. No TV. - Radios, - just people being people, in a remote setting of a reality of the past. A boy holding his hand, today would have different implications. BUT, it was more, a neighbor family atmosphere, surrounding the early American community. Captured well by the poet.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Kevin Straw (2/9/2009 7:24:00 AM)

    'interstice' seems the wrong word somehow, a bit obscure in the context. The interstice seems to have been in a screen which separated him (and the youth) from the workmen, for he catches a glimpse of them only. Whether the couple were in a private place unseen or whether they were in view of the workmen seems to me to be important to the poem. And WW seems to be suggesting the former. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 2 Points Chris Mendros (2/9/2008 2:38:00 AM)

    '...A long while, amid the noises of coming and going-of drinking and/oath and smutty jest, '
    Wrappin' it up in a nutshell. Wotta' description!
    Know Whitman wasn't into drinking and swearing, so that leaves the 'smutty jest'. But i wonder if all contact- such as hand-holding- was considered sexual then, as it is in our (less sophisticated?) time? (Report) Reply

Read all 18 comments »

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