To Oratists by Walt Whitman

TO oratists—to male or female,
Vocalism, measure, concentration, determination, and the divine power to use words.
Are you full-lung’d and limber-lipp’d from long trial? from vigorous practice?
from
physique?
Do you move in these broad lands as broad as they?
Come duly to the divine power to use words?

For only at last, after many years—after chastity, friendship, procreation, prudence,
and
nakedness;
After treading ground and breasting river and lake;
After a loosen’d throat—after absorbing eras, temperaments, races—after
knowledge, freedom, crimes;
After complete faith—after clarifyings, elevations, and removing obstructions;
After these, and more, it is just possible there comes to a man, a woman, the divine power
to
use words.

Then toward that man or that woman, swiftly hasten all—None refuse, all attend;
Armies, ships, antiquities, the dead, libraries, paintings, machines, cities, hate,
despair,
amity, pain, theft, murder, aspiration, form in close ranks;
They debouch as they are wanted to march obediently through the mouth of that man, or that
woman.

.... O I see arise orators fit for inland America;
And I see it is as slow to become an orator as to become a man;
And I see that all power is folded in a great vocalism.

Of a great vocalism, the merciless light thereof shall pour, and the storm rage,
Every flash shall be a revelation, an insult,
The glaring flame on depths, on heights, on suns, on stars,
On the interior and exterior of man or woman,
On the laws of Nature—on passive materials,
On what you called death—(and what to you therefore was death,
As far as there can be death.)

by Walt Whitman

Other poems by 'Walt Whitman'

Walt Whitman.

Song at Sunset.

Ashes of Soldiers.

Thoughts.

Tears.

I Hear America Singing.

When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d.

To Foreign Lands.

Adieu to a Soldier.

In Midnight Sleep.