Crossing brooklyn ferry
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In his poem, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Walt Whitman gives the reader his observations of nature and of the human experience, using a simple ferryboat crossing as his device. Whitman's poem reflects on the following:
- Whitman wonders if others will see what he sees
- How the people around him will perceive the sights of the city
- The communing with birds and other creatures
- How future generations will also benefit from the view he enjoys during his ride
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Though he is just one person ("I was one of a crowd"), Whitman nonetheless is awestruck as a single soul by the rushing water, the huge ships in the river, and the awesome sight of the vastness of New York's buildings and bustling activity. People in the city go about their business, adding vitality to the city, which Whitman proclaims he loves.
Further, the poet reflects on his happy experiences of walking through Brooklyn and Manhattan, loving and appreciating what the city offers. The river becomes a metaphor of life itself: "I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution, I too had receive'd identity by my body".
Whitman and The Dark Side of the City
Yet, Whitman also speaks of the dark side of city life, as in Section 6: "refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting". These, however, are overcome by the majesty of the river, which ebbs and flows, just as life itself ebbs and flows. While he might be anonymous - as are all others on the ferryboat, Whitman still feels a kinship with all the others, for like them, the poet knows the river touches them all. "Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul". No matter how great or small our accomplishments, we all share an unbreakable bond with the river, which sustains and nourishes us in its own unique way.