Section 26 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
- Whitman says that he doesn't want to speak at all, he wants to listen and build himself from the sounds he hears.
- This gives him an excuse to make yet another list. This time it's a list of sounds, starting with natural sounds and quickly moving to different kinds of human voices.
- He hears happy voices and sad voices, strict voices and tender voices.
- The voices are like musical instruments, and together they make a chorus or symphony.
- The "orchestra" of all these sounds takes him to the outer reaches of the universe and to the brink of death.
- In the end, he just feels puzzled by reality.
- Maybe it's appropriate that the heart of this poem is dedicated to exploring the innermost mysteries of the universe – no one ever accused Whitman of lacking ambition.
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