|Manuscript of Paumanok|
Photo from The Walt Whitman Archive
Though Whitman's reach was universal - in 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass (page 29) the poet introduced himself as - "Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, disorderly, fleshly, and sensual, no sentimentalist, no stander above men or women or apart from them, no more modest than immodest"; he referred to Long Island in a number of poems.
Today let us present a later poem, from 1888, "Paumanok", Paumanok was a native name of Long Island. Whitman still saw it as "Isle of sweet brooks of drinking-water—healthy air and soil!"
Sea-beauty! stretch'd and basking!
One side thy inland ocean laving, broad, with copious commerce,
And one the Atlantic's wind caressing, fierce or gentle—mighty
hulls dark-gliding in the distance.
Isle of sweet brooks of drinking-water—healthy air and soil!
Isle of the salty shore and breeze and brine!
"Paumanok" by Walt Whitman, first published in the New York Herald on February 29, 1888.
Reprinted after The Walt Whitman Archive. In public domain.