The Ox Tamer

A poem by Walt Whitman

In a faraway northern county, in the placid, pastoral region,
Lives my farmer friend, the theme of my recitative, a famous Tamer of Oxen:
There they bring him the three-year-olds and the four-year-olds, to break them;
He will take the wildest steer in the world, and break him and tame him;
He will go, fearless, without any whip, where the young bullock chafes up and down the yard;
The bullock's head tosses restless high in the air, with raging eyes;
Yet, see you! how soon his rage subsides how soon this Tamer tames him:
See you! on the farms hereabout, a hundred oxen, young and old and he is the man who has tamed them;
They all know him all are affectionate to him;
See you! some are such beautiful animals so lofty looking!
Some are buff color'd some mottled one has a white line running along his back some are brindled,
Some have wide flaring horns (a good sign) See you! the bright hides;
See, the two with stars on their foreheads See, the round bodies and broad backs;
See, how straight and square they stand on their legs See, what fine, sagacious eyes;
See, how they watch their Tamer they wish him near them how they turn to look after him!
What yearning expression! how uneasy they are when he moves away from them:
Now I marvel what it can be he appears to them, (books, politics, poems depart all else departs;)
I confess I envy only his fascination my silent, illiterate friend,
Whom a hundred oxen love, there in his life on farms,
In the northern county far, in the placid, pastoral region.

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