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.
Short Poem Analysis
"I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman is a celebratory and inclusive poem that portrays a diverse and harmonious image of American society. Through its joyful and rhythmic language, the poem captures the spirit of collective labor and individual contributions that together form the essence of American life.
The poem's title, "I Hear America Singing," immediately suggests a sense of unity and communal expression. The act of "singing" serves as a metaphor for various forms of work and creative expression.
Whitman employs a repetitive structure in the poem, beginning each line with the phrase "I hear America singing." This repetition emphasizes the variety and diversity of voices contributing to the overall chorus of American life.
The poem's descriptions of various workers, from carpenters to boatmen to mothers, underscore the breadth of occupations and roles that make up American society. Each individual's work is celebrated as a meaningful and essential contribution.
The poem's use of sensory imagery, such as "the delicious singing of the mother" and the "strong melodious songs," creates a vivid and joyful depiction of the act of labor and the pleasure derived from it.
The poem conveys a sense of democratic equality, emphasizing that all individuals, regardless of their occupation, are valued contributors to the collective identity of America.
"I Hear America Singing" is a hymn to the diverse and harmonious spirit of American society. Through its rhythmic language and celebration of individual contributions, the poem celebrates the mosaic of voices that come together to form the vibrant tapestry of American life. It reflects Whitman's belief in the democratic ideals of equality and the inherent worth of every individual's work.