A critique and comparison of the two poems “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman and “He Put the Belt Around My Life” by Emily Dickinson


Song of Myself





Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,

Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;

Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.


She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,

She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.


Which of the young men does she like the best?

Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.


Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,

You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.


Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,

The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.


The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their long hair,

Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.


An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies,

It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.


The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,

They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch,

They do not think whom they souse with spray.





He put the Belt around my life—Emily Dickinson



He put the Belt around my life—

I heard the Buckle snap—

And turned away, imperial,

My Lifetime folding up—

Deliberate, as a Duke would do

A Kingdom’s Title Deed—

Henceforth—a Dedicated sort—

A Member of the Cloud—


Yet not too far to come at call—

And do the little Toils

That make the Circuit of the Rest—

And deal occasional smiles

To lives that stoop to notice mine—

And kindly ask it in—

Whose invitation, know you not

For Whom I must decline?


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