In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Waves in the Vessel's wake

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1874

Whitman Archive ID: mil.00001

Source: Mills College, Oakland, CA. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript, written on the back of a leaf with Department of Justice letterhead, is a draft of a poem published first as "In the Wake Following" in the December 1874 issue of the New York Daily Graphic. The poem was later revised and published as "After the Sea-Ship" in the "Sea-Drift" group of Two Rivulets (1876). The manuscript was probably written in 1874, shortly before the poem's publication.

Contributors to digital file: Ashley Lawson, Janel Cayer, Brett Barney, Kenneth M. Price, Andy Jewell, Nick Krauter, Kati Robertson, Zach Bajaber, and Nicole Gray

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the ^ little waves from

Waves in the Vessel's wake

I saw a sShip sail on—and after she
had sail'd on, had pass'd,

The waters current in her wake—the little hastening waves
^ hastening from afar, smaller on larger,

And the ^far billows reaching up, with their prying looks
and white necks, bending over, with their with prying looks

Tending ^[illegible] gaily with swift flow toward the track left by the ^departed ship

And the ^great spread of the sea itself, ^hoarsely bubbling and gur gurgling thither,

Toward that motley, laughing buoyandt
streak of itself,

When the ship sailing on, had [stirred?] up displaced the surface,

Undulating, and flashing, so whirling frolicsome
under the sun;

The To the Toward that long, long, shining, and mottled track, ^with curves,

Where the ship, sailing & tacking, had displaced the
with curves, surface

Thither The ^little & larger waves, with yearnfully flowing, with frag-
ments & foam—a long
varied procession,

A varied procession, with many a fleck of foam & many fragments
where, they

They In There, to the wake of the vessel, ^ they, long ^& long after
she had pass'd,

Gathering, joyously followed.

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