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Of The Terrible Doubt Of Apperarances Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 264

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OF the terrible doubt of appearances,

Of the uncertainty after all--that we may be deluded,

That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,

That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only,

May-be the things I perceive--the animals, plants, men, hills,

shining and flowing waters,

The skies of day and night--colors, densities, forms--May-be these

are, (as doubtless they are,) only apparitions, and the real

something has yet to be known;

(How often they dart out of themselves, as if to confound me and mock


How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows, aught of them;)

May-be seeming to me what they are, (as doubtless they indeed but

seem,) as from my present point of view--And might prove, (as

of course they would,) naught of what they appear, or naught

any how, from entirely changed points of view;

--To me, these, and the like of these, are curiously answer'd by my

lovers, my dear friends;10

When he whom I love travels with me, or sits a long while holding me

by the hand,

When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason

hold not, surround us and pervade us,

Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom--I am silent--I

require nothing further,

I cannot answer the question of appearances, or that of identity

beyond the grave;

But I walk or sit indifferent--I am satisfied,

He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.


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Out of the terrible doubt of appearances
We who would seek to know the unknowable everything,
Who are frustrated with the impotence of our frustration
Are sheltered in the presence of one who loves us.
And this speaks to me of the greatness of loving,
Of the giving of shelter.
Whom should we love, but those in need of that,
Those frustrated by the quest to know.
Those who search beyond themselves for some real thing
For the real thing.
Quelled as is our storm in the presence of that love,
So shall we be great,
In our giving to them
Whose souls’ storms themselves would be quelled.
For this I shall seek that lover, who would know the truth,
and be frustrated.
How shall I know them, when I know I cannot know?
-in the quelling of my storm by them,
so shall I know.

| Posted on 2010-12-17 | by a guest

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