Summary and Analysis: Inscriptions Poets to Come


Whitman, addressing poets of the future, declares that this great "new brood" should awake and "justify" him. Conscious of his philosophical limitations, he says that he can "but write one or two indicative words for the future." Since he can turn only "a casual look" upon these artists of the future, he Leaves to them the interpretation of his thoughts.

Whitman's consciousness of the inadequacy of language to express the full extent of his thought is revealed in this poem. He says that he can "advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness." He is aware of the philosophical and metaphysical imperfections of his poetic self. His expectation that future poets will interpret his work for posterity clearly shows that he views the poet as a seer and a builder of the bridge spanning time.