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In this poem, Whitman expresses his desire to touch people with his work. He compares his poetry (or songs as he calls them here) to undecorated tree branches: they are “scaly and bare” because they have yet to reach people. He feels as though something needs to happen to make his bare branches flower and bear fruit so that people will be moved by what he has produced.

haply: by chance; accidentally

verdant: a very poetic, classical word for green.

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Not meagre, latent boughs alone, O songs! (scaly and bare,
like eagles talons,)
But haply for some sunny day (who knows?) some future spring,
some summer bursting forth,
To verdant leaves, or sheltering shade to nourishing fruit,
Apples and grapes the stalwart limbs of trees emerging the
fresh, free, open air,
And love and faith, like scented roses blooming.