Whispers of Heavenly Death


"Whispers of Heavenly Death" is the seventh song in Ernst Bacon's song collection Songs at Parting: A Selection of Poems by Walt Whitman. The final lines of the poem (from "Some parturition..." to the end) are to be spoken at a pianissimo dynamic as the piano sustains a soft chord.

Whispers of Heavenly Death
by Walt Whitman

Whispers of heavenly death murmur'd I hear,
Labial gossip of night, sibilant chorals,
Footsteps gently ascending, mystical breezes wafted soft and low,
Ripples of unseen rivers, tides of a current flowing, forever flowing,
(Or is it the plashing of tears? the measureless waters of human tears?)

I see, just see skyward, great cloud-masses,
Mournfully slowly they roll, silently swelling and mixing,
With at times a half-dimm'd sadden'd far-off star,
Appearing and disappearing.

(Some parturition rather, some solemn immortal birth;
On the frontiers to eyes impenetrable,
Some soul is passing over.)

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