A Short Note On Walt Whitman’s Poem “The Commonplace”

America’s world poet Walt Whitman was in his 50s when this photo was taken.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was the first American poet to pronounce a declaration of independence against conventional forms of poetry. For him, poetry should be the natural expression of simple and natural people in a simple and natural language. He doesn’t like to use the regular meter or rhyme in his poems. His great love for America can be reflected in his poems, which often showed strong Americanism and pride in the common man. His volume, Leaves of Grass, from which the following poem is taken, is one of his most famous poems:


The commonplace I sing;
How cheap is health! how cheap nobility!
Abstinence, no falsehood, no gluttony, lust;
The open air I sing, freedom, toleration,
(Take here the mainest lesson–less from books–less from the schools,)
The common day and night–the common earth and waters,
Your farm–your work, trade, occupation,
The democratic wisdom underneath, like solid ground for all.

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