I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics-each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat-the deckhand singing on the steamboat
deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench-the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter’s song-the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon
intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother-or of the young wife at work-or of the girl sewing or
washing-Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day-At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Walt Whitman's poem I Hear America Singing.

73 Comments

  1. Danielle Ferreira says:

    I LOVE THIS POEM!its one of the best poems Mr.Whitman has wrote i remember reading this in the 6th grade not understanding one word but then when i came to high school i began to understand it and of course love it!

  2. Aradia says:

    IF you match up the lines it comes close to an Alabama song, “40 Hour Week”. They both deal with the middle-class working man, the machines, and mechanics. It’s intresting to compare the two.

  3. marco says:

    I discovered Whitman 4 years ago and now i cant stay one day without read his poetry. i would like to corrispond with other people that have my same interest.

  4. Jordan Slone says:

    This poem is very boring.

  5. Spinna says:

    This poem was used by William Striker during his newfond speech on politics because of how insperational it is. It should be required by law to be taught throughout our school sytems because of its imagery and use of poetic devices such as metaphors and similes. His poetic skills surpass that of even the best poets of the now and even the past. He should be regarded by all as the father of national and stirring poems. All hail Whitman!

  6. Patrick says:

    Interesting side-note to this poem, try reading and comparing it to Langston Hughes’ “I, Too”

  7. Andrea says:

    Comment number 43 is a dumb thing to say. If you don’t understand poetry do NOT comment on it. Just because he was a homosexual does NOT mean his poems revolve around that. This poem has its flaws but does not say anything about that.

  8. ahmed says:

    i did a reasurch paper on it and i felt it is such pragmatic to neglect the artists and others in the empowerment of the nation

  9. Thomas Woos says:

    Yes, after much review, the poem does glorify blue collared workers of America (Lines 2-6) and suggest both America as a diverse (I hear America singing, the “varied carols” I hear;) and yet strong (Singing…their strong melodious songs) nation.

    It is not disputed that Whitman had sexual attraction towards men, however only 3rd hand accounts say he was actually in a homosexual relationship. Yes there are more than obvious “suggestions” of such attractions (Line 7), but an attraction does not mean a relationship.

    Argueing to remove great work such as this from school curriculum because of some suttle suggestions of a homosexual preference and a few 100 year old rumours is down right wrong. It is similar to saying we should remove “Romeo & Juliet” from all school books because it contains violence, suggestions of sex, and murder.

  10. CCCCCCCCCCCC says:

    Sahara from U.S u do not know what u r talking about this is one of the greatest poets in American History. It doesn’t say anything about a love affair in the whole poem now does it? NOPE

  11. TROY says:

    I REALLY REALLY LIKE THE POEM

  12. Shimon Weinroth says:

    America singing on the eve of the industrial revolution
    her workmen of all trades, he incldes the women and mothers the storng melodious song full of hope and enthusiam on the eve or reconstruction and indusrialization industrialization. One must explain his poetry in context with the times and not condemn
    him in term of today. Yet it is worhty to note the irony of the times in the following poem.inspired by
    Whiman’s I hear America Singing

    Songs of the New world

    I hear technology singing
    I hear the hum of computers
    from the sockets in the wall
    and transmitters down the hall

    I feel the waves of energy
    tremors of mighty power
    fill the rooms and towers
    with the click and beat pulsing all about

  13. joodie says:

    My love you are like a roll of cookie dough to me
    You make me want to kiss you with my wet soggy lips
    Come to me my little cough drop
    I think you are like a hairy baboon
    I love you

  14. joodie says:

    My Poem:
    A bitter autumn wind comes upon the earth with a great swoosh
    The trees shiver in the cold bitter winds
    Oh save my soul bitter winds

  15. Amber says:

    Im doing a project thing about this poem and I find it quite intresting to see all the imagry and how he expresses himself in the poem “I Hear America Singing”. I think he is a great poet and I love his plays!!

  16. Vinh le says:

    I’m not native America so it’s so hard for me to understand the meaning of each line in the potry “I hear America singing” so I hope some one can help me figure out them…
    e-mail me :khanhvinh@gmail.com

  17. Scarlet says:

    I am with Garrett from the U.S. Perhaps some of the people reading the poem and commenting should read Whitman’s biography and some of his other works. How can he be “too patriotic”? The time in his life that he wrote much of his poetry was during The Civil War period and it was a time that greatly affected Whitman. He was a nurse for wounded soldiers and he wrote poetry about this and about the assassination of Lincoln. Later, he also wrote poems that praised the everyday world around him – like his list poem “I Hear America Singing”. Read “Miracles”, another list poem. It shows how Whitman felt about his fellow man and the goodness and beauty of the world around him.

  18. Sarah Farhda says:

    This poem is disgusting and ought to be banned from all school reading lists. It is nothing but an enigmatic reference to his sexual love affair with a boy and his mother. In line 8 he comments on the little ploughboy’s “wood-cutting song.” Then he continues on to reveal how the boy was available at “morning, noon, intermission, or sundown.” He continues with a reveling in the mother’s “delicious singing” while she “works.” Finally whitman concludes with a reference to an orgy with “robust” boys.(“Party of young fellows.

  19. Garrett says:

    I find it quite amusing that a large majority of the individuals leaving such negative comments about one of the greatest American writers ever to have lived are widely illiterate and look no deeper into the poem than what they see on the surface. Many of you criticize how Whitman does not speak of latinos, asians, or blacks. You just assume that he is speaking of white people and only white people. In what part of his poem does he mention race? It seems that you have personal issues and stereotypes of white people as racist. If you had any knowledge of Walt Whitman, you would know that he was in such grievance over the assassination of Abraham Lincoln that he wrote two poems about his mourning. One of these is “O Captain! My Captain!” Of course you would probably look at this poem and think to yourself, “He is just talking about some white captain on a ship who dies.” So why would you even think for one second that Whitman advocated racism or slavery when he was in support of abolition? Please type your comments in Microsoft Word next time so that spell-check is in effect and you may correct your errors so that you may not appear even more ignorant than you already are. In addition, Walt Whitman lived in the 1800’s, so one cannot merely pass off this poem as unrealistic. Perhaps this is so by today’s standards, but at the time the poem was written it was very realistic. Agriculture dominated the economy and industry was emerging as a player in the market as well. Consequently, the people described in his poem all perform physical labor. So, one should not question Whitman’s lack of reference to people with other occupations. Whitman is also describing the American workforce and population as a whole. If he were to be so very specific as to list every occupation that existed, I do not believe that anyone would sit through an entire reading of his work. So once again I ask of you, go to school, the library, the internet, anywhere, and educate yourself on the subject matter so that you will have facts to support your argument. Thank you.

  20. leo says:

    This poem was written in a time where America was going through many many changes industrially, socially…I think the author just speak out his good wish about amercan common people.

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