A Hand-Mirror


HOLD it up sternly! See this it sends back! (Who is it? Is it you?)
Outside fair costume--within ashes and filth,
No more a flashing eye--no more a sonorous voice or springy step;
Now some slave's eye, voice, hands, step,
A drunkard's breath, unwholesome eater's face, venerealee's flesh,
Lungs rotting away piecemeal, stomach sour and cankerous,
Joints rheumatic, bowels clogged with abomination,
Blood circulating dark and poisonous streams,
Words babble, hearing and touch callous,
No brain, no heart left--no magnetism of sex; 10
Such, from one look in this looking-glass ere you go hence,
Such a result so soon--and from such a beginning!

by Walt Whitman

Comments (17)

It should be read as magnificent poem, instead of mag magnificpoem.
A beautiful poem. Tons of imageries make my whole being of nothingness shiver with a craving for a celestial mirror that could fill me with a perfect introspection of the wholeness of the Universe around. For the first time in my life, I have come across such a beautiful, mag magnificpoem. Great work. Thanks.
well, so much for the golden years! I will remove all mirrors in my house immediately. Yet truth is applied here in layer upon layer so I think it best if we keep a physical or metaphorical mirror at hand at all times to keep an eye on who we are becoming.
Walt Whitman describes the human devolution, but at the same time, this process is reversible. The end of a civilization means the beginning of a new one. The last line seems to be relevant in this prophetic poem.
The hand mirror! ! Hold it up! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
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