Walt Whitman

Ah Poverties, Wincings and Sulky Retreats

AH poverties, wincings, and sulky retreats! Ah you foes that in conflict have overcome me! (For what is my life, or any man’s life, but a conflict with foes—the old, the incessant war?) You degradations—you tussle with passions and appetites; You smarts from dissatisfied friendships, (ah wounds, the sharpest of all;) You toil of painful and choked articulations—you meannesses; You shallow tongue-talks at tables, (my tongue the shallowest of any;) You broken resolutions, you racking angers, you smother’d ennuis; Ah, think not you finally triumph—My real self has yet to come forth; It shall yet march forth o’ermastering, till all lies beneath me; It shall yet stand up the soldier of unquestion’d victory.

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