"Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" is a poem by Walt Whitman.It was first published in 1860 as 'A Word Out of the Sea'. It is one of Whitman's complex and successfully integrated poems. Whitman has used several new techniques in the poem. One of them is the use of images like bird, boy, sea. The influence of music is also seen in opera form. Some critics have taken the poem to be an elegy mourning the death of someone dear to him. The basic theme of the poem is 'relationship between suffering and art '. It shows how the boy matures into a poet through his experience of love and death. Art is a sublimation of frustrations and death is a release from the stress and strains caused by such frustrations. In language this poem is similar to his There Was a Child Went Forth.
The poem features a young boy walking on the beach, who finds two mockingbirds nesting and watches them. The female bird fails to appear one day, and the male bird cries out for her. The bird's cries create an awakening in the boy, who translates what the male is saying in the rest of the poem. As this happens, the boy recognizes the impact of nature on the human soul and his own burgeoning consciousness.
Originally titled "A Child's Remembrance", the poem was first published in the Saturday Press on December 24, 1859. The newspaper included this introduction: "Our readers may, if they choose, consider as our Christmas or New Year's present to them, the curious warble by Walt Whitman".
The poem was later included in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass under the title "A Word Out of the Sea" (and occasionally erroneously referred to, even by Whitman himself, as "A Voice Out of the Sea"). "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" is found in the title section, Sea-Drift. Several of Whitman's individuals poems, including "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking", focus on the seashore; his first was "A Sketch".
Upon its first publication, a reviewer for the Cincinnati newspaper Daily Commercial called the poem "unmixed and hopeless drivel". and a disgrace to its publisher. Shortly after, on January 7, 1860, the Saturday Press published a response to that review titled "All About a Mocking-Bird", celebrating Whitman's poem. This article may have been written by Whitman himself.