Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass
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Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

115. City of Ships


CITY of ships! 
(O the black ships! O the fierce ships! 
O the beautiful, sharp-bow’d steam-ships and sail-ships!) 
City of the world! (for all races are here; 
All the lands of the earth make contributions here;)         5
City of the sea! city of hurried and glittering tides! 
City whose gleeful tides continually rush or recede, whirling in and out, with eddies and foam! 
City of wharves and stores! city of tall façades of marble and iron! 
Proud and passionate city! mettlesome, mad, extravagant city! 
Spring up, O city! not for peace alone, but be indeed yourself, warlike!  10
Fear not! submit to no models but your own, O city! 
Behold me! incarnate me, as I have incarnated you! 
I have rejected nothing you offer’d me—whom you adopted, I have adopted; 
Good or bad, I never question you—I love all—I do not condemn anything; 
I chant and celebrate all that is yours—yet peace no more;  15
In peace I chanted peace, but now the drum of war is mine; 
War, red war, is my song through your streets, O city! 


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