Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's Poem, The Elegy When Lilacs Last Essay

1371 Words Dec 18th, 2016 6 Pages
A poet must know life to be great and life ends with death, therefore it can be stood to reason that the greatest poets show their view on not only the physical act of death but the metaphysical response to it as well. Whitman is no stranger to the subject, one of his greatest poems being about the funeral of Lincoln, but what exactly is his view of the afterlife? Can we determine what his words meant, or are they for effect and contradict each other? Is death just the violent or slow end to our lives journey and tales or does he believe in some world after death? Is death to be feared or respected? We will examine a selection of his poetry most related to death and attempt to figure out Walt’s view of it.
Death is the theme of one of Walt Whitman’s most famous poems, the elegy When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, written about the death of President Abraham Lincoln. The poet intertwines the stages of grief into the poem, leading us from the soft denial to the acceptance of the severance of the mortal coil. He does not try and make death seem to be a scary thing, but rather common and natural. Take the lines “Nor for you, for one alone, /Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring,/ For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for you/ O sane and sacred death…” Walt is bringing and celebrating death, not shunning or hiding from it. He understands that death is not an end, abrupt and sudden but the final line of the poetry of our lives. He calls death sane,…

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