Here's a virtual movie of the great Walt Whitman reading his exquisite poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"

This poem was written in 1859 and incorporated into the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. It describes a young boy's awakening as a poet, mentored by nature and his own maturing consciousness. The poem is loose in its form, except for the sections that purport to be a transcript of the bird's call, which are musical in their repetition of words and phrases. The opening of the poem is marked by an abundance of repeated prepositions describing movement—out, over, down, up, from—which appear regularly later in the poem and which convey the sense of a struggle, in this case the poet's struggle to come to consciousness.

"Out of the Cradle" can be described as a poem about the birth of the poet, it can also be read as a poem about the death of the self. In the end, on the larger scale, these two phenomena are one and the same.

Unlike most of Whitman's poems, "Out of the Cradle" has a fairly distinct plot line. A young boy watches a pair of birds nesting on the beach near his home, and marvels at their relationship to one another. One day the female bird fails to return. The male stays near the nest, calling for his lost mate. The male's cries touch something in the boy, and he seems to be able to translate what the bird is saying. Brought to tears by the bird's pathos, he asks nature to give him the one word "superior to all." In the rustle of the ocean at his feet, he discerns the word "death," which continues, along with the bird's song, to have a presence in his poetry.

Kind Regards

Jim Clark
All rights reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2014

PLEASE NOTE - The image used in this animation is not actualy Walt Whitman it is a lookalike of Walt Whitman and is not to my knowledge a copyrighted image please write to me if you have bonafide information to the contrary. at my email address of

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