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Walt Whitman : On the Beach at Night

On the beach at night,
Stands a child with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black
	masses spreading,
Lower sullen and fast athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the
	east,
Ascends large and calm the lord-star Jupiter,
And night at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate sisters the Pleiades.

From the beach the child holding the hand of her
	father,
Those burial-clouds that lower victorious soon to
	devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears,
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the
	stars only in apparition,
Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another
	night, the Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and
	golden shall shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out
	again, they endure,
The vast immortal suns and the long-enduring
	pensive moons shall again shine.

Then dearest child mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?

Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and
	indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the
	stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing
	away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than
	lustrous Jupiter,
Longer than sun or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant sisters the Pleiades. 

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)	1871

 
FOOTNOTES
1 largest of the planets, Jupiter was also the Roman king of the gods, and associated with storms and rain; 2 a constellation of seven stars in Taurus, identified with the seven daughters of Atlas, and often associated with rainy weather
 

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