Valueless, object of eyes, over all and demanding all—(absolute owner of all)—O banner and pennant!
I too leave the rest—great as it is, it is nothing—houses, machines are nothing—I see them not, I see but you, O warlike pennant!
Pennant: Come up here, bard, bard, Come up here, soul, soul, Come up here, dear little child, To fly in the clouds and winds with me, and play with the measureless light.
Child: O my father I like not the houses, They will never to me be any thing, nor do I like money, But to mount up there I would like, O father dear, that banner I like, That pennant I would be and must be.
O pennant! where you undulate like a snake hissing so curious, Out of reach, an idea only, yet furiously fought for, risking bloody death, loved by me, So loved—O you banner leading the day with stars brought from the night!
Father: Cease, cease, my foolish babe, What you are saying is sorrowful to me, much ’t displeases me; Behold with the rest again I say, behold not banners and pennants aloft, But the well-prepared pavements behold, and mark the solid-wall’d houses.
Father: Child of mine you fill me with anguish, To be that pennant would be too fearful, Little you know what it is this day, and after this day, forever, It is to gain nothing, but risk and defy every thing, Forward to stand in front of wars—and O, such wars!
Behold, the sea itself, And on its limitless, heaving breast, the ships; See, where their white sails, bellying in the wind, speckle the green and blue, See, the steamers coming and going, steaming in or out of port, See, dusky and undulating, the long pennants of smoke.
Crowd top-sail, top-gallant and royal studding-sails, Out challenge and defiance—flags and flaunting pennants added, As we take to the open—take to the deepest, freest waters.
Banner and Pennant: Speak to the child O bard out of Manhattan, To our children all, or north or south of Manhattan, Point this day, leaving all the rest, to us over all—and yet we know not why, For what are we, mere strips of cloth profiting nothing, Only flapping in the wind?
Poet: My limbs, my veins dilate, my theme is clear at last, Banner so broad advancing out of the night, I sing you haughty and resolute, I burst through where I waited long, too long, deafen’d and blinded, My hearing and tongue are come to me, (a little child taught me,) I hear from above O pennant of war your ironical call and demand, Insensate! insensate!
…saw aboard those that were near me, Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops, saw the ships at anchor, The sailors at work in the rigging or out astride the spars, The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender serpentine pennants, The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their pilothouses, The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the wheels, The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sunset, The scallop-edged waves in the…
But do you reserve especially for yourself and for the soul of man one flag above all the rest, A spiritual woven signal for all nations, emblem of man elate above death, Token of all brave captains and all intrepid sailors and mates, And all that went down doing their duty, Reminiscent of them, twined from all intrepid captains young or old, A pennant universal, subtly waving all time, o’er all brave sailors, All seas, all ships.
Banner: Demons and death then I sing, Put in all, aye all will I, sword-shaped pennant for war, And a pleasure new and ecstatic, and the prattled yearning of children, Blent with the sounds of the peaceful land and the liquid wash of the sea, And the black ships fighting on the sea envelop’d in smoke, And the icy cool of the far, far north, with rustling cedars and pines, And the whirr of drums and the sound of soldiers marching, and the hot sun shining south, And the beach-waves…
…guns have fully alerted me, and heaven-clouds canopy my city with a delicate thin haze, When gorgeous the countless straight stems, the forests at the wharves, thicken with colors, When every ship richly drest carries her flag at the peak, When pennants trail and street-festoons hang from the windows, When Broadway is entirely given up to foot-passengers and foot-standers, when the mass is densest, When the facades of the houses are alive with people, when eyes gaze riveted tens of…
…am not the sea nor the red sun, I am not the wind with girlish laughter, Not the immense wind which strengthens, not the wind which lashes, Not the spirit that ever lashes its own body to terror and death, But I am that which unseen comes and sings, sings, sings, Which babbles in brooks and scoots in showers on the land, Which the birds know in the woods mornings and evenings, And the shore-sands know and the hissing wave, and that banner and pennant, Aloft there flapping and flapping.
You Lingering Sparse Leaves of Me You lingering sparse leaves of me on winter-nearing boughs, And I some well-shorn tree of field or orchard-row; You tokens diminute and lorn—(not now the flush of May, or July clover-bloom—no grain of August now;) You pallid banner-staves—you pennants valueless—you overstay’d of time, Yet my soul-dearest leaves confirming all the rest, The faithfulest—hardiest—last.
[VI] Proudly the Flood Comes In Proudly the flood comes in, shouting, foaming, advancing, Long it holds at the high, with bosom broad outswelling, All throbs, dilates—the farms, woods, streets of cities—workmen at work, Mainsails, topsails, jibs, appear in the offing—steamers’ pennants of smoke—and under the forenoon sun, Freighted with human lives, gaily the outward bound, gaily the inward bound, Flaunting from many a spar the flag I love.
…Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating, shuttling at thy sides, Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar, now tapering in the distance, Thy great protruding head-light fix’d in front, Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate purple, The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke-stack, Thy knitted frame, thy springs and valves, the tremulous twinkle of thy wheels, Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily following, Through gale…
) I’ll pour the verse with streams of blood, full of volition, full of joy, Then loosen, launch forth, to go and compete, With the banner and pennant a-flapping.
) my little and lengthen’d pennant shaped like a sword, Runs swiftly up indicating war and defiance—and now the halyards have rais’d it, Side of my banner broad and blue, side of my starry banner, Discarding peace over all the sea and land.
…looking composedly down,) Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand, Where the she-whale swims with her calf and never forsakes it, Where the steam-ship trails hind-ways its long pennant of smoke, Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water, Where the half-burn’d brig is riding on unknown currents, Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupting below; Where the dense-starr’d flag…
That hell unpent and raid of blood, fit for wild tigers or for lop-tongued wolves, not reasoning men, And in its stead speed industry’s campaigns, With thy undaunted armies, engineering, Thy pennants labor, loosen’d to the breeze, Thy bugles sounding loud and clear.
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The underdog baseball team won the pennant after 162 hard fought games.