Summary and Analysis: Children of Adam Ages and Ages Returning at Intervals


The poet becomes Adam himself He returns to the earth to chant "lusty, phallic" songs. In the West, home of the new Garden of Eden, the great cities call him. He offers his songs and himself, bathing both in the sex which issues forth from his body.

Merging his identity with Adam, the poet takes it as his mission to spread the gospel of sex. The joy of the sexual experience is equated with the ecstasy of a spiritual or mystical experience. The image of bathing in sex is reminiscent of the sacrament of Baptism.

The poem is structured in a pattern of heightening and declining stresses. The initial lines have few stresses, the lines in the central part have more, the closing lines again have few stresses. The power of sex is described in liquid consonants which show Whitman's onomatopoeic skill, his ability to use words whose sounds suggest their meaning. "Deliriate" is the poet's own invention; it means the process of bringing about a temporary state of mental and sexual excitement.