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Walt Whitman Quotes: Inspirational Poetry and Gifts

Updated on January 26, 2016

Walt Whitman Quotations

The poet Walt Whitman grew up when the art of photography was first introduced to the public, and he took every opportunity to visit portrait studios during his lifetime.

Author of the epic Leaves of Grass and other books of poetry and passion, Whitman's poems are treasured by people around the world. Daguerreotypes and other high-resolution photographs of Walt Whitman (1819-1892) present a detailed record his life from age 29 to nearly the end of the 19th century, at age 73.

Popular quotations are combined with these beautiful photographs to create unique cards and gifts. Modify the products with a few simple options, if you'd like something a little different. The poems and short inspirational quotations on the greeting cards can be replaced with one of the poems listed below. "Customize it" to add personalized text and quotes onto the existing product for a truly unique design.

Other Walt Whitman gifts and collectibles - like jewelry, buttons, stickers and bags - come preloaded with the author's name as a caption, or delete the text to print the image alone.

Wedding / Engagement Card
Wedding / Engagement Card

Walt Whitman greeting cards

A poem for Graduation, engagement or wedding

This excerpt is from the poem Leaves of Grass which expresses the devotion of marriage.

I used this quotation on a greeting card presented to my best friend for his wedding. It came with a book (created on Blurb) filled with snapshots from his childhood. This poem comes preloaded on the "Color Whitman Engagement / Wedding Cards", or simply copy the poem here and paste it into any of the greeting cards and notecards.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
-- Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman (Lives and Legacies Series)
Walt Whitman (Lives and Legacies Series)

Beautiful collection of his best poems


Whitman on Kindle and Kindle Fire - eBooks (and printed books) for tablet computers

Poems By Walt Whitman
Poems By Walt Whitman

Collection of excerpts from Leaves of Grass and other poems


What is your favorite Whitman card?

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Every moment of light and dark is a miracle
Every moment of light and dark is a miracle

Inspiring messages

Print these brief Whitman quotes on cards and magnets

The art of art, the glory of expression
and the sunshine of the light of letters,
is simplicity

Do anything, but let it produce joy

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth

Resist much. Obey little.

Every moment of light and dark is a miracle

I celebrate myself, and sing myself

And what I assume you shall assume

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you

Peace is always beautiful.

Happiness, not in another place but this place... not for another hour, but this hour.

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars

The main collection of his poetry

Leaves of Grass - rare first edition
Leaves of Grass - rare first edition | Source

Leaves of Grass

Whitman published several different editions of The Leaves of Grass over the course of his lifetime. The third edition of 1860 is the largest, with 165 poems.

The fourth edition in 1867 marks the beginning of his 'self-editing' process, reworking the original poems for the rest of his life, for a total of nine separate editions printed, all with different versions and quantity of poems.

See the 'Resources and links' section below for more information.

Have you read Leaves of Grass?

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Rare editions - Leaves of Grass - and other books of prose and poerty

Leaves of Grass was published in six different editions between 1855 and 1882. Between those years, and to his final days, Whitman edited the book by adding new poems or removed passages, even changing the typography or the bindings as determined by the post-war economy.

Quotations for a Bright Future

Graduation quotes, or a newborn baby

I sent this Whitman poem on a greeting card to my friend when he announced the birth of their baby girl.

O to have my life henceforth a poem of new joys!
To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, leap, roll on, float on,
To be a sailor of the world, bound for all ports,
A ship itself, (see indeed these sails I spread to the sun and air,)
A swift and swelling ship, full of rich words -- full of joys.

~ ~ ~

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.

Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air
and to eat and sleep with the earth.

From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines.

I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.

Re-examine all you have been told . . . dismiss what insults your soul.

Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.

Inspirational Poetry

"Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land."

~ ~ ~

Vivas to those who have fail'd!
And to those whose vessels sank in the sea!
And to those themselves who sank in the sea!
And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes!
And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known!

~ ~ ~

"This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

Walt Whitman and William Dean Howells meeting at Pfaff's Restaurant
Walt Whitman and William Dean Howells meeting at Pfaff's Restaurant

Friendship poetry

"I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends."

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough

Happiness, not in another place but this place... not for another hour, but this hour.

The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged. Missing me one place, search another. I stop somewhere waiting for you.

"Are you the new person drawn toward me?" To begin with, take warning - I am surely far different from what you suppose; Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal? Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd satisfaction? Do you think I am trusty and faithful? Do you see no further than this façade-this smooth and tolerant manner of me? Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man? Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?"

Whitman Love Poems

So Long!
O how your fingers drowse me! Your breath falls around me like dew-your pulse lulls the tympans of my ears; I feel immerged from head to foot; Delicious-enough.

~ ~ ~

Sometimes with One I Love
Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn'd love,
But now I think there is no unreturn'd love, the pay is certain one way or another,
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return'd,
Yet out of that I have written these songs.?

~ ~ ~

To a Stranger
Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
~ ~ ~

When I Heard at the Close of the Day
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish'd me more, and the beautiful day pass'd well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,

Whitman's home in Camden, NJ
Whitman's home in Camden, NJ | Source

Love quotes

What is that you express in your eyes?
It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life.

We were together. I forget the rest.

And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred.

Good-bye My Fancy!
Long indeed have we lived, slept, filtered,
become really blended into one

Collectibles and gifts - Shop at eBay for unique gift ideas

Searching for Whitman on eBay often gets mixed up with Walt ... Disney. This selection sorts out Pinocchio and the Sorcerers Apprentice from stamps, documents and books about the American poet Walt Whitman.

Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass

Available in eight different formats to take Whitman with you anywhere


Please sign the guestbook and/or tell us your favorite Whitman poem or photograph.

Visitor comments and feedback

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    • dotpattern profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Moire 

      5 years ago from West Village, New York City

      @MarcellaCarlton: Thank you Marcella. Whitman is such a lovely poet. 200th birthday anniversary in a few years.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A beautifully crafted lens! Well done.

    • AceofHearts profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow! Great Lens. I hope that squidoo will change this lens over to its newest Blue Celebrate theme and get Walt out of the pink. Thanks for posting such a great lens. You are teaching Walt to the new generation!

    • dotpattern profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Moire 

      6 years ago from West Village, New York City

      @CoolFool83: Whitman's life was very inspiring too. Thanks for stopping by Godfather.

    • CoolFool83 profile image


      6 years ago

      I love these quotes! Really inspirational.

    • dotpattern profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Moire 

      6 years ago from West Village, New York City

      @anonymous: If there ever was a "We the People" poet, it would surely be Walt Whitman.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I enjoy reading poems and writing that we the people write up from our heart, enjoyed reading these this morning too.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      I am stopping back by to sprinkle a blessing upon this inspirational collection of poetry and images. Thanks for your excellent creative work. Always appreciated.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      very interesting read. lovely collection of whitman's quotations. nicely done.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very enjoyable lens. I love the quotations and photos. I'm off to visit your zazzle studion.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      You have featured many of my most favorite Whitman quotations and writings. "O to have my life henceforth a poem of new joys!"

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      7 years ago from New York City

      I discovered Whitman as a teenager and have enjoyed his work many times since.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nicely done! Blessing this lens and putting it on my Poetry review angel lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've enjoyed Leaves of Grass many times and love the writings of Walt Whitman. Nicely done

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 

      7 years ago from Chicago area

      Awesome lens!

    • TapIn2U profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting facts on Walt Whitman. I have the impression he was a passionate poet during his time. The t-shirt designs are classic. Great job on this lens! HEy - I have incredible news. There are expert workshops right now on Tapping or EFT. It will run for a few more days--2 free for every 24 hours. It's a good chance to try EFT and be guided FREE. Details: Blessings! Sundae ;-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice idea for a lens. I didn't know there was so much Whitmas stuff.


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