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
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.


  1. Jamie says:

    Walt Whitman, in this poem, may actually be trying to be sarcastic. At the time the poem was written workers were being mistreated and the conditions they worked under were terrifying. Maybe the workers singing is their hope and the only time they can sing “with open mouths” is at night when they are amongst other workers and can express themselves freely. Being heavily connected with the democratic party, a huge concern for Whitman was human rights as well as unity.

  2. John says:

    I get confused on the different kind of literary devies these kind of poems have…could anybody explain them to me please?

  3. Kiki says:

    I think that Walt Whitman was unrealistic in this poem as America was not “free” for everyone during the time that this poem was written. Minorities and women’s rights were not heard during this time thus their “singing” was silenced. Read Langston Hughes, “I, too, sing America” to fully understand the feelings of the oppressed and discriminated.

  4. Edgar Andrade says:

    I Hear America Singing is a great poem and I think it says alot of inspiring things. I like this poem because it talks about americas workforce. I can relate to this poem aswell.

  5. Kira Nerrice says:

    I’m currently studying Walt Whitman and I am right now learning about this poem (I’m a sixth grader). This is one of the few poems I like and understand. Why do teachers make kids study poems?!?

  6. Jill says:

    Well- The SINGING that is refered to here is a figurative song. They people are not actually SINGING while they work. The song is the routine of their work that is basically the work that is holding America up–keeping the country moving. This poem was written in a time where our country was going through many many changes industrially, socially, we were gearing up for the civil war, and slavery was on the cusp of being abolished. This poem is about the people in America, those who make the country what it is. Whitman wrote for the common man. He glorified blue collar work as the support that holds the country together. The common man- as he called it- was essentially America. Whitman did not even publish his work using his name. He wanted his stuff to be read by everyone of all social classes and ethnicities.

  7. Katie says:

    To me this poem is less about a carefree society that is all joy and singing. I think Whitman realized the problems in America also. This poem is more about people finding satidfaction in their lives because it is THEIR LIFE. No one elses. They are independent and that makes them free. To be able to say that you worked for something, and it is yours, is a great thing. Even if it is a low, honest working wage, or just the ability to be comfortable with yourself.

  8. natalie millon says:

    Walt Whitman is a very patriotic poet. In his poem, he repeatedly used “singing” as a symbolization of freedom and happiness in America. He also described a very utopian society, a perfect place to dwell in.

  9. Jeff says:

    I feel this means that everybody needs to do their jobs for the community. Relating this to a Melody, the melody doesnt work without the harmony and like that if only one person “sings their song” or does their work then the song isnt complete and the community that relys on each other will fall apart.

  10. Karen Whitley says:

    To me the poem means that everyone is different and in America that is ok. Everyone is allowed to sing their song out loud, not silenced by diversity, “singing with open mouth.” It is not necessarily singing, or workers…the workers represent the ordinary citizen and the songs are our voices and opinions. Even the small guys have the freedom of speech

  11. dwq says:


  12. Victor Betts Jfr says:

    I feel that in this poem they feel exciting as they work,when on the other hand some people dont like to work an sing “excitement”

  13. Marlene Gomez says:

    In “I Hear America Singing” you can hear that it shows that the people in america love to sing to their country and to their nobel jobs even with low wages and hard times the people af america will always enjoy living in their country and enjoy singing to their beautiful America.

  14. Raquel Alvarado says:

    I think that the poem”I hear America Singing” is a great poem because it shows that people back then were happy to get any job, but today people are non-conformists at what they do for a living.

  15. dominique thomas says:

    He is saying that he hear the sweet sounds of the american people while they enjoy their day at work.

  16. Larry says:

    From the persons day it sounds like everyone was happy about their jobs, they are in the garden of eve and tha makes me like it.

  17. johnny lepe says:

    The poem “I hear America singing” was too patriotic it had too many words that only true americans could read, but its showing that these people are happy as long as they are in the country and not caring about how they treat them.

  18. michael says:

    The poem was alright but i did not like the poem because it was not real nobody sing when they work at these kind of jobs. bye

  19. jose guillen says:

    she was trying to say the different ways american express themselves.

  20. Tanesha Richardson says:

    what i thought about the poem “I Hear America Singing” was that it was enjoyable. I think he was trying to say that having a good job to go to everyday is enjoying. I also think that he’s trying to say that jobs are not always bad there sometimes wonderful. I also think he’s trying to say sing about what you have instead of showing it off to everyone.

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