The World below the Brine

Original Text: 
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1891-92): 206-07. PS 3201 1891 Robarts Library.
1The world below the brine,
2Forests at the bottom of the sea, the branches and leaves,
3Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds, the thick tangle openings, and pink turf,
4Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold, the play of light through the water,
5Dumb swimmers there among the rocks, coral, gluten, grass, rushes, and the aliment of the swimmers,
6Sluggish existences grazing there suspended, or slowly crawling close to the bottom,
8The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray,
9Passions there, wars, pursuits, tribes, sight in those ocean-depths, breathing that thick-breathing air, as so many do,
10The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed by beings like us who walk this sphere,
11The change onward from ours to that of beings who walk other spheres.


7] flukes: the two halves of the whale's tail. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.