O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman
O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
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what does this poem mean
Here's the thing about poetry . . . Most of it can be interpreted in many different ways. What means one thing to me may mean something else to someone else. Any number of factors can contribute to to these differing views and interpretations. So asking 'what does this poem mean,' of a dozen different people can likely get you a dozen different answers.
The best way to analyze any poem for meaning is to break it down to smaller chunks.
Of the endless trains of the faithless: what is this saying? Is trains literal or metaphor? We can assume the faithless is referring to other humans since faith is a human trait.
Of myself forever reproaching myself: what is the literal meaning behind this phrase? How does it tie into: (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)?
And so forth. So do this first and see if you can come up with your own interpretation of the poem. Don't worry about or question yourself as to whether you are right or wrong. Most of the time there is no such thing in poetry interpretation. Once you have your own interpretation to this poem's meaning post that here and we will provide input and feedback and our views on it's meaning so that you can further refine your own interpretation.