30. Election Day

Election Day, November, 1884

by Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
‚Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing
and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still small voice vibrating—America’s
choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont,
Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

Deutsch in: Walt Whitman, “Grasblätter. Gedichte”, aus dem amerikanischen Englisch übersetzt von Jürgen Brôcan, Carl Hanser Verlag 2009, S. 628f.

Leaves of Grass, 1891-92 edition
Copyrighted in 1891, published in 1892, the 1891–1892 so-called Deathbed edition of Leaves of Grass is, strictly speaking, not an edition at all, but an impression; nor does the epithet „deathbed“ pertain accurately to the text that has come to be so identified.

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