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Ask Dr WLS Your Own Question

Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 483
Experience:  PhD degree in engineering/physics , online tutor since 1994 in general subjects
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Customer Question

1. explain what this poem means in 4-5 line and what are some of the characteristics of an american poet?

I tramp a perpetual journey,
My signs are a rain-proof coat and good shoes and a staff cut from the woods;
No friend of mine takes his case in my chair,
I have no chair,nor church nor philosophy;
I read no man to a dinner-table or library or exchange,
But each man and each woman of you lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooks you round the waist,
My right hand points to landscape of continents, and a plain public road.
Not i, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Sally replied 11 years ago.

   Hello,  this poem is about the future and the choices of life that we have.   The left hand indicates the decisions that are before you and the right hand show you the roads that can be traveled.

Regarding the characteristics of the poet:  I am not sure what you are asking but I see the poet as one who allows himself/herself time to make a decision and has the foresight to see the different choices to make

Expert:  Dr WLS replied 11 years ago.

 This is not a complete poem, but an excerpt (Section 46) from a very long one titled "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman. You misquoted it, by the way.  The word "read" should be "lead". The portion you presented should read as follows:

"I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!) 
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the 
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, 
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy, 
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange, 
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, 
My left hand hooking you round the waist, 
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. 

Not I , not any one else can travel that road for you, 
You must travel it for yourself. "

Here is my 4-5 line summary:

I love to travel far and wide. I need no fancy clothes, just a raincoat, and walking stick to enjoy the outdoors. I am not interested in religion or specific schools of thought, but would be glad to show you the vistas and directions where great beauty lies, so you can make your own journey of discovery.

Characteristics of Walt Whitman (this poet) are:

(1) individualistic and unconventional

(2) restless and exploring

(3) appreciative of natural beauty and "the open road"

(4) secular .. not affiliated with a specfic religion

(5) androgynous

(6) content with himself


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