Page 1 of 5
Walt Whitman was born on May
31, 1819, in West Hills, on Long
Island, New York. He is considered
one of America’s most important
At the age of twelve, Whitman
began to learn the printer’s trade
and fell in love with the written
word. Largely self-taught, he read
voraciously, becoming acquainted
with the works of Homer, Dante,
Shakespeare, and the Bible.
Walt Whitman is known primarily
for Leaves of Grass, though it is
actually more than one book.
During Whitman’s lifetime, it went
through nine editions, each with its own distinct virtues and faults. Whitman
compared the finished book to a cathedral long under construction, and on
another occasion to a tree, with its cumulative rings of growth.
Whitman’s greatest theme is a symbolic identification of the regenerative power
of nature with the deathless divinity of the soul. His poems are filled with
religious faith in the processes of life, particularly those of fertility, sex, and the
“unflagging pregnancy” of nature: sprouting grass, mating birds, phallic
vegetation, the maternal ocean, and planets in formation (“the journey-work of
stars”). The poetic “I” of Leaves of Grass transcends time and space, binding the
past with the present and intuiting the future, illustrating Whitman’s belief that
poetry is a form of knowledge, the supreme wisdom of humankind. He
portrayed the relationships of an individual’s body and soul and the universe in
a new way, often emancipating poetry from contemporary conventions. He had
sufficient universality to be considered one of the greatest American poets.
Page 3 of 5
English Audio: https://youtu.be/UwpufdP3DJQ
"वर्षा की वषणी" HINDI – Dr Dinesh Dadhichi - https://youtu.be/yVUXBNwhAMk
Page 4 of 5
About the Poem
‘The Voice of Rain’ was published in Outing, a periodical, in 1885. It was later
included in Whitman’s best-known work, Leaves of Grass. Through the short
twelve lines of the poem, Whitman explores themes of nature and writing. The
poem also includes many of the characteristics that are common to his poetry.
This poem is no outlier amongst Whitman’s larger oeuvre. He often turned to
nature as a source of inspiration, information, and comfort in a world that was
becoming increasingly industrialized. Through the use of personification,
extended metaphor, and a range of other literary techniques and devices,
Whitman creates a discussion between rain and poetry. Rain compares itself to
poetry and at the same time describes the nature of poetry. As the poem
progresses it becomes clear that the two are very similar, the rain itself becomes
a metaphor for poetry.
Structure of The Voice of the Rain
‘The Voice of the Rain’ by Walt Whitman is a twelve-line poem that is contained
within one stanza of text. The lines are written in free verse, meaning that they
do not use a specific rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. This style of writing is
closely associated with Whitman. He is often referred to as the father of free
verse poetry. Although there are is no rhyme scheme, there are some examples
of half-rhyme in ‘The Voice of the Rain’. For example “shower” and “answer” in
lines one and two. It can appear at the ends of lines or mixed internally into the
lines (internal rhyme).
Page 5 of 5
The central idea of the poem The Voice of the Rain is that both rain and poetry
hold a significant position on the earth. The rain originates from the bottom of
the seas In the form of water vapours. They rise to the sky and from there they
fall on the earth and help life to exist and flourish. Similarly, poetry originates
from the heart of the poet and goes to different people who appreciate and
criticize it. But in the end, love comes for the poet from all directions.