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Observations placeholder

Whitman, Walt - There was a child went forth



Type of Spiritual Experience


Whitman is describing what it feels like to know you belong to the 'common consciousness', the interlinked spiritual.

It is generally one of the side-effects of ecstasy

A description of the experience

Walt Whitman – There was a Child went forth

There was a child went forth every day
And the first object he looked upon and received with wonder or pity or love or dread, that object he became
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day – or for many years or stretching cycles of years
The early lilacs became part of this child
And grass, and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover and the song of the phoebe bird
And the March born lambs and the sow's pink faint litter, and the mare’s foal and the cow's calf and the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire of the pondside... and the fish suspending themselves curiously below there.. and the beautiful curious liquid and the water plants with their graceful flat heads… all became part of him
And the apple trees covered with blossom, and the fruit afterwards and wood berries… and the common weeds by the road
And the old drunkard staggering home from the outhouse of the tavern whence he had lately risen
And the schoolmistress that passed on her way to the school… and the friendly boys that passed... and the quarrelsome boys... and the tidy and fresh faced girls and the barefoot negro boy and girl
And all the changes of city and country wherever he went

The schooner near by sleepily dropping down the tide... the little boat slack towed astern
The hurrying tumbling waves and quick broken crests and slapping
The strata of coloured clouds… the long bar of maroon tint away solitary by itself... the spread of purity it lies motionless in
The horizon's edge, the flying seacrow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud
These became part of that child who went forth every day and who now goes and will always go forth every day
And these become of him or her that peruses them now

The source of the experience

Whitman, Walt

Concepts, symbols and science items


World soul


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps