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About this Item

Title: Patrolling Barnegat

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: April 1881

Whitman Archive ID: per.00012

Source: Harper's Monthly Magazine 62 (April 1881): 701. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, April Lambert, Heather Morton, Leslie Ianno, Ramon Guerra, and Susan Belasco

image 1


WILD, wild the storm, and the sea high running;
Steady the roar of the gale, with incessant under-tone muttering;
Shouts of demoniac laughter fitfully piercing and pealing;
Waves, air, midnight, their savagest trinity lashing;
Out in the shadows there, milk-white combs careering;
On beachy slush and sand, spurts of snow fierce slanting—
Where, through the murk, the easterly death-wind breasting,
Through cutting swirl and spray, watchful and firm advancing
(That in the distance! is that a wreck? is the red signal flaring?),
Slush and sand of the beach, tireless till daylight wending,
Steadily, slowly, through hoarse roar never remitting,
Along the midnight edge, by those milk-white combs careering,
A group of dim, weird forms, struggling, the night confronting,
That savage trinity warily watching.


1. Reprinted in the American (May 1881) and Leaves of Grass (1881–82). [back]


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