Submit Comment

show all (10)
There are no comments. Click the text to your left to make a new comment.

Whitman enters into an intimate relationship with the reader
Calling us to journey with him as he contemplates his mother’s death and his own mortality


These contrasting images provide the reader with Whitman’s sense of death’s incomprehensibility
Webster’s definition of “dim” is “not perceiving clearly or distinctly”
Whitman does not understand this supreme land without bounds


The use of alliteration
Memories, my, mother, maternity are like a baby calling out “ma ma ma”
Whitman is calling out one last time for his beloved mother


Whitman says mother is gone physically YET her memory lives on in me. She will not die for me.


lines 5-7 are set apart in parentheses. gives visual of a coffin. Although Whitman has many great memories the mother’s death, her lifeless form is central to the poem


Intense love that he has for his mother is seen here. Representative of 19th century ideals of the mother-son bond


Another beautiful memorial of his mother. She is the ideal woman to Whitman


From the Oxford English Dictionary: grave- v- to bury, inter
line- n- a cord in the body (as in umbilical cord)


The tombstone is the concrete image of the final resting place as the period is the grammatical symbol for the final resting place
The end.


before i go- is Whitman contemplating his own mortality or leaving his mother?
amid these songs- Whitman is immortalizing himself and his mother through poetry

1 1

AS at thy portals also death,

2 1

Entering thy sovereign, dim, illimitable grounds,

3 1

To memories of my mother, to the divine blending, maternity,

4 0

To her, buried and gone, yet buried not, gone not from me,

5 1

(I see again the calm benignant face fresh and beautiful still,

6 0

I sit by the form in the coffin,

7 1

I kiss and kiss convulsively again the sweet old lips, the cheeks, the closed eyes in the coffin;)

8 1

To her, the ideal woman, practical, spiritual, of all of earth, life, love, to me the best,

9 2

I grave a monumental line, before I go, amid these songs,

10 1

And set a tombstone here.