Miracles Walt Whitman by lily hynes - Ourboox.com
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Miracles Walt Whitman

  • Joined Sep 2021
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In 1856, The poem “Miracles” was published by Walter Whitman. In this poem, he is known for using a lot of imagery to describe the different miracles he sees. He does this to create a picture in the mind of the reader. Whitman sets the tone for the poem by starting it with a question of “Who makes much of a miracle?”. The poet then describes different moments and things that he believes are miracles because he ”knows nothing else but miracles.” With these descriptions, he uses a great amount of imagery.


For example, the poet describes the pleasure of walking in the city and the beach with his feet in the sand. He talks about standing under trees in the woods, and how much he adores talking and sleeping next to the people he loves. In addition, he mentions how he is grateful for things such as eating dinner or seeing people while out on the streets.

Whitman then transitions back to nature, describing sights of animals feeding, bees buzzing around a hive, and birds and insects roaming the air. He then goes on to describe the beauty of a sun setting, the stars, and the moon.

At the end, he says that each of these things is, in its own way, a miracle to him,  like that everything is aligned for a reason and results into harmony.

Miracles Walt Whitman by lily hynes - Ourboox.com

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,


Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;


These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
        ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?




Discussion questions:


What are the images used by the poet?

Pick a section (a line or 2) in the poem and analyze the use of imagery being used.

How is the use of imagery effective to Whitman’s theme?

Pick one more poetic device being used in the poem and describe it in a few sentences. (Example: Diction, alliteration etc..)

Whitman ends the poem with the question ”What stranger miracles are there?” What do you think this means? Do you agree/ disagree with this reasoning and why?


Activities: With a partner, create some examples of imagery with the topic of miracles like Whitman did. Together, come up with at least two or three detailed examples.

Miracles Walt Whitman by lily hynes - Ourboox.com
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