A Glimpse: Poem by Walt Whitman - Summary & Analysis

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A Glimpse through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a barroom around the stove late of a winter night, and I unremark’d seated in a corner,
Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching and seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand,
A long while amid the noises of coming and going, of drinking and oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little, perhaps not a word.


      Introduction. Among the thousands of lines of poetry written by Walt Whitman there are hundreds of trashy, worthless, verbose pieces that do not merit even a glance, much less the trouble of careful reading. A Glimpse is a poem of less than a hundred words divided into five poetical feet wherein the poet has given us a glimpse of his abnormal behavior.

      Summary. The poet takes pleasure is associating with the riffraff of society but not to reform them or to redeem them from the sordid squalor and nasty atmosphere wherein they have found themselves, thanks to their own debased depravity. The poet is seated in a comer in a bar-room frequented by workers and drivers. One of his chums enters the room, sits beside the poet and holds him by the hand. The two enjoy exquisite pleasure in sitting together thus without speaking even a word.

      Critical Analysis. The two men do not speak to each other because they are happy in sitting together hand in hand. They are oblivious of the noisy atmosphere. They do not pay any attention to the oaths and smutty jests of the illiterate indecent fellows enjoying their pegs of rum and beer.

      We do not find anything interesting or remarkable in this trivial poem. In fact, the title of the poem is a misnomer for this jumble of words, a dull and boring piece without any significant idea or depth of emotion.

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