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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry


by Walt Whitman

Section 22 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 100-105

Now I am curious what sight can ever be more stately and admirable to me than my mast-hemm'd Manhatta,
My river and sun-set, and my scallop-edged waves of flood-tide,
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the twilight, and the belated lighter;
Curious what Gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest name as I approach,
Curious what is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that looks in my face,
Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you.

  • There's that word "curious" again, used to describe his deep, unanswerable questions. He wonders, basically, "What could be better than this?"
  • He briefly describes the waves, the sea gulls, and the boats again. Then he takes a subtle shot at religion and philosophy, saying that his spiritual experience on the ferry "exceeds" even the "Gods," and his connection to other people is more "subtle" than any lofty thoughts.
  • He feels at one with us as readers. He "pours" his meaning into us like water into an empty glass.

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