Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
by Walt Whitman
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Spirituality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (section.line)
The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all hours of the day,
The simple, compact, well-joined scheme – myself disintegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme,
The similitudes of the past, and those of the future,
The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings – on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river, (lines 6-9)
Like a kid with a hankerin' for a candy bar, the speaker craves "sustenance" from the things of the world. This spiritual hunger can never be satisfied, so it's a good thing that, you know, the world doesn't disappear or anything. Everything is connected through some grand "scheme" or design.
I watched the Twelfth Month sea-gulls – I saw them high in the air, floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
I saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies, and left the rest in strong shadow,
I saw the slow-wheeling circles, and the gradual edging toward the south. (lines 29-31)
The sea-gull could be a symbol for the soul, suspended between Heaven and Earth (or, in less religious terms, between the spiritual and material worlds). Like the Soul, the sea-gull is only partly visible, with the "rest in strong shadow" of darkness or mystery. Remember that the next time you're tempted to throw sand at that sea-gull stealing your sandwich on the beach.
Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,
Looked at the fine centrifugal spokes of light round the shape of my head in the sun-lit water, (lines 33-34)
Beams of sunshine divided into "fine centrifugal spokes" surrounding his head? Sounds like a halo to us. For a poet who doesn't mention religion a lot, he sure uses a lot of religious imagery.