Leaves of Grass

Author: Walt Whitman  | Date: 1855

Ah Poverties, Wincings, and Sulky Retreats

AH poverties, wincings, and sulky retreats,

Ah you foes that in conflict have overcome me,

(For what is my life or any man’s life but a conflict with foes, the

old, the incessant war?)

You degradations, you tussle with passions and appetites,

You smarts from dissatisfied friendships, (ah wounds the sharpest of


You toil of painful and choked articulations, you meannesses,

You shallow tongue-talks at tables, (my tongue the shallowest of


You broken resolutions, you racking angers, you smother’d ennuis!

Ah think not you finally triumph, my real self has yet to come


It shall yet march forth o’ermastering, till all lies beneath me,

It shall yet stand up the soldier of ultimate victory.


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Chicago: Walt Whitman, "Ah Poverties, Wincings, and Sulky Retreats," Leaves of Grass Original Sources, accessed August 9, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4AWH6WEMDLGEWJM.

MLA: Whitman, Walt. "Ah Poverties, Wincings, and Sulky Retreats." Leaves of Grass, Original Sources. 9 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4AWH6WEMDLGEWJM.

Harvard: Whitman, W, 'Ah Poverties, Wincings, and Sulky Retreats' in Leaves of Grass. Original Sources, retrieved 9 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4AWH6WEMDLGEWJM.