“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” 10/22/12

This monday we were assigned to read the poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry┬áby Walt Whitman. The poem first beings with the narrator describing the ferry on his way to Manhattan. What makes this part so interesting to me is that he truly focuses on his surroundings on his ferry ride. Usually, many people do not do this. They take advantage of the beautiful scenery and do not admire it like the narrator is doing in this particular poem. By describing the motion of the water below him and the types of people that surround him, he notices everything. He even says in the first stanza “Clouds of the west-sun there half an hour high” which makes me believe that he is riding the ferry early in the morning just as the sun is rising.

One important factor that ┬ánoticed about the language of the poem was that the narrator uses the words “I too” very often. For example, the narrator states “I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine, I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it.” This makes me believe that the narrator used to live in New York and is telling a fellow ferry rider of his past experiences in the city. It is almost as if he is visiting New York after some years of being away from the great city. He also reminisces about his old life in New York and refers to Manhattan and Brooklyn as “admirable” and “beautiful”.

This poem makes me realize how much I take the Staten Island Ferry ride for granted. I never truly notice or gaze at my surroundings nor do I analyze the people around me. New York is truly a beautiful place and I feel that this poem reminds us all of that. Since we all live in the city, we never admire the places or things around us because it is considered “nothing special” since we see it very often. Now, after reading this poem, I will make sure to look at New York’s beauty on my next ferry ride.