Walt Whitman

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

A Hand-Mirror



HOLD it up sternly! See this it sends back! (Who is it? Is it you?)
Outside fair costume--within ashes and filth,
No more a flashing eye--no more a sonorous voice or springy step;
Now some slave's eye, voice, hands, step,
A drunkard's breath, unwholesome eater's face, venerealee's flesh,
Lungs rotting away piecemeal, stomach sour and cankerous,
Joints rheumatic, bowels clogged with abomination,
Blood circulating dark and poisonous streams,
Words babble, hearing and touch callous,
No brain, no heart left--no magnetism of sex; 10
Such, from one look in this looking-glass ere you go hence,
Such a result so soon--and from such a beginning!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: dark, mirror, heart

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Hand-Mirror by Walt Whitman )

Enter the verification code :

  • Kristen Hall (2/6/2013 11:44:00 AM)

    This reminds me of The Lumineers' line from Slow it Down: Smile less and dress up some more. (Report) Reply

  • Joy Vanderhelm (1/21/2006 8:43:00 PM)

    Oh, the horros that come with age! I, for one, plan on inventing a time-machine that doesn't go back in time, rather just creates a bubble. One that allows me to remain super sexy and relatively healthy until my death bed. (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

Poem of the Day

poet Percy Bysshe Shelley

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Jessie Mackay

 
[Hata Bildir]