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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.


Song of Myself

by Walt Whitman


The little one sleeps in its cradle, 
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand. 

The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill, 
I peeringly view them from the top. 

The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom, 
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen. 

The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders, 
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor, 
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls, 
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous’d mobs, 
The flap of the curtain’d litter, a sick man inside borne to the hospital, 
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall, 
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd, 
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes, 
What groans of over-fed or half-starv’d who fall sunstruck or in fits, 
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes, 
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrain’d by decorum, 
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips, 
I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I come and I depart.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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