Recurring Images and Motifs in "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" In the poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry", by Walt Whitman, there are many recurring images and motifs that can be seen.
Whitman develops these images throughout the course of the poem. The most dominant of these are the linear notion of time, playing roles, and nature. By examining these motifs and tracing their development, ones understanding of the poem becomes highly deepened.
Whitman challenges the linear notion of time by connecting past with future. This can be seen in the first stanza, as the poem opens: "And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations than you might suppose"(4-5). This lets the reader know that he has written this with the reader in mind, even before that reader existed. He challenges time by connecting his time with ours.
He has preconcived us reading this poem.
When we read his words we are connected to him and his feelings, all in the same time. He is sure that after he is gone the water will still run and people will still "see the shipping of Manhattan/and the heights of Brooklyn" (14-15). He makes his past and our futher all one.
No matter the time nor the distance, the reader will experience the same way he experiences at the moment in time he resides: Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt, Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd, Just as you are refresh'd by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was" (23-26).
This same motif follows through to the next stanza, as he continues to emphasize how...