There Was a Child Went Forth

National Geographic
Daily Gratitude
February 19

Every child begins the world again.

Henry David Thoreau
There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon and received with wonder or pity or love or dread, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day . . . . or for many years or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phœbe-bird,

. . .

The hurrying tumbling waves and quick-broken crests and slapping;
The strata of colored clouds . . . . the long bar of maroon-tint away solitary by itself . . . . the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes and will always go forth every day,
And these become of him or her that peruses them now.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Complete poem

Leave a Comment