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Whitman’s “From Montauk Point” depicts the powerful, beautiful and ever churning sea. The speaker is standing on the point, maybe even near the famous Montauk lighthouse we don’t know; but I picture him not just standing, but leaning with arms outstretched on the edge of the point. “I stand as on some mighty eagle’s beak”, he writes. The rest of the poem is an ode to the sea and I see it even as the poet’s attempt to become one with the water. “The tossing of waves, the foam, the ships in the distance,The wild unrest, the snowy, curling caps– that inbound urge and urge of waves,”, he says. The poet respects the sea’s power and yearns to be a part of it. Land is not the poet’s home, rather he’d be happier on the water “seeking the shores forever”, but never really reaching them.

Montauk Point, the top point of the western side of Long Island was originally inhabited by the Montauk band of the Algonquin Indians. In 1686, the indians sold Montauk to a group of European settlers known as “the proprietors”. This sale began Montauk’s role as a summer getaway spot, but not for people yet…for cattle. Montauk wouldn’t host people as tourists until the 1920’s.

Finally, guess what? Some say pirate treasure is buried on Montauk, for more information about the point’s pirate booty and more history information, visit this link.

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I stand as on some mighty eagles beak,
Eastward the sea absorbing, viewing, (nothing but sea and sky,)
The tossing waves, the foam, the ships in the distance,
The wild unrest, the snowy, curling caps that inbound urge
and urge of waves,
Seeking the shores forever.