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ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER, 1884

November 4, 2008

By Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
‘Twould not be you, Niagara – nor you, ye limitless prairies – nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite – nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones – nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes – nor Mississippi’s stream:
This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name – the still small voice vibrating -America’s hoosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen – the act itself the main, the quadrennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d – sea-board and inland – Texas to Maine – the Prairie States – ermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West – the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling – (a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s): the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity – welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
– Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify – while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

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