PATROLLING BARNEGAT.WILD, wild the storm, and the sea high running;
Steady the roar of the gale, with incessant under-tone muttering;
Shouts of demoniac laughter fitfully piercing and pealing;
Waves, air, midnight, their savagest trinity lashing;
Out in the shadows there, milk-white combs careering;
On beachy slush and sand, spurts of snow fierce slanting—
Where, through the murk, the easterly death-wind breasting,
Through cutting swirl and spray, watchful and firm advancing
(That in the distance! is that a wreck? is the red signal flaring?),
Slush and sand of the beach, tireless till daylight wending,
Steadily, slowly, through hoarse roar never remitting,
Along the midnight edge, by those milk-white combs careering,
A group of dim, weird forms, struggling, the night confronting,
That savage trinity warily watching.
Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue.
Harper's Monthly Magazine 62 (April 1881):
Reprinted in the American (May 1881) and Leaves of Grass (1881–82).
Whitman Archive ID