WHY reclining, interrogating? Why myself and all drowsing?
What deepening twilight! scum floating atop of the waters!
Who are they, as bats and night-dogs, askant in the Capitol?
What a filthy Presidentiad! (O south, your torrid suns! O north, your arctic freezings!)
Are those really Congressmen? are those the great Judges? is that the President?
Then I will sleep awhile yet-for I see that These States sleep, for reasons;
(With gathering murk-with muttering thunder and lambent shoots, we all duly awake,
South, north, east, west, inland and seaboard, we will surely awake.)

Analysis, meaning and summary of Walt Whitman's poem To The States.


  1. Ira Huddleston says:

    as said, 1900 is way too late for any Whitman poem to have been written – he died in 1892

    the various “editions” of “Leaves of Grass” in which BOTH poems – the one erroneously entitled “To The States” and the REAL “To the States” that I quoted

    appeared very early, 1855 was first edition, 1892 was last – his “death-bed” edition

  2. Ira Huddleston says:

    1900 is way too late for when any leaves of grass poems were written

  3. Ira Huddleston says:

    The poem quoted as “To the States” is NOT the Walt Whitman poem entitled “To the States” – which goes:

    To the States – or any one of them – or any city of these states – RESIST MUCH, OBEY LITTLE
    For once unquestioning obedience – once fully enslaved –
    once fully enslaved – no nation, state, city of this earth
    ever after regains its liberty

    The poem that was quoted IS Whitman, it IS from Leaves of Grass – its a good poem – and BOTH are so appropriate tonight – but the quoted poem is simply NOT the one entitled “TO THE STATES” in Leaves of Grass

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