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Walt whitman

Walt Whitman

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
69

I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil,
  this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
  their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
  forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

1

OF Public Opinion;
Of a calm and cool fiat, sooner or later, (How im–
         passive! How certain and final!)
Of the President with pale face asking secretly to
         himself, What will the people say at last?
Of the frivolous Judge—Of the corrupt Congressman,
         Governor, Mayor—Of such as these, standing
         helpless and exposed;
Of the mumbling and screaming priest—(soon, soon
         deserted;)
Of the lessening, year by year, of venerableness, and
         of the dicta of officers, statutes, pulpits, schools;
Of the rising forever taller and stronger and broader,
         of the intuitions of men and women, and of
         self-esteem, and of personality;
—Of the New World—Of the Democracies, resplendent,
         en-masse;
Of the conformity of politics, armies, navies, to them
         and to me,
Of the shining sun by them—Of the inherent light,
         greater than the rest,
Of the envelopment of all by them, and of the effusion
         of all from them.

WEAVE in! weave in, my hardy life!
Weave, weave a soldier strong and full, for great cam–
         paigns to come;
Weave in red blood! weave sinews in, like ropes! the
         senses, sight weave in!
Weave lasting sure! weave day and night the weft, the
         warp! incessant weave! tire not!
(We know not what the use, O life! nor know the aim,
         the end—nor really aught we know;
But know the work, the need goes on, and shall go
         on—the death-envelop’d march of peace as well
         as war, goes on;)
For great campaigns of peace the same, the wiry
         threads to weave;
We know not why or what, yet weave, forever weave.

HE is wisest who has the most caution;
He only wins who goes far enough.

ANY thing is as good as established, when that is estab–
         lished that will produce it and continue it.

Come, said my Soul
Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,)
That should I after death invisibly return
Or, long, long hence, in other spheres,
There to some group of mates the chants resuming,
(Tallying Earth’s soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,)
Ever with pleas’d smile i may keep on,
Ever and ever yet the verses owning—as, first, I here and now,
Signing for soul and body, set to them my name.

By the bivouac’s fitful flame
              A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow—but first I note,
              The tents of the sleeping army, the fields’ and the woods’ dim outline,
              The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence,
              Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving,
              The shrubs and trees (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily watching me),
              While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts,
              Of life and death, of home and the past an loved, and of those that are far away;
              A solemn and slow procession there as I it on the ground,
              By the bivouac’s fitful flame.
1

BY the City Dead-House, by the gate,
As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor,
I curious pause—for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead
         prostitute brought;
Her corpse they deposit unclaim’d, it lies on the
         damp brick pavement;
The divine woman, her body—I see the Body—I look
         on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty—all else I
         notice not;
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet,
         nor odors morbific impress me;
But the house alone—that wondrous house—that de–
         licate fair house—that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwel–
         lings ever built!
Or white—domed Capitol itself, with magestic figure sur—
         mounted—or all the old high-spired cathedrals,
That little house alone, more than them all—poor,
         desperate house!
Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul!
Unclaim’d, avoided house! take one breath from my
         tremulous lips;
Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you,
Dead house of love! house of madness and sin, crum–
         bled! crush’d!
House of life—erewhile talking and laughing—but
         ah, poor house! dead, even then;
Months, years, an echoing, garnish’d house—but
         dead, dead, dead.

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,
They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon,
The insignificant is as big to me as any,
(What is less or more than a touch?)

Logic and sermons never convince,
The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

(Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so,
Only what nobody denies is so.)

A minute and a drop of me settle my brain,
I believe the soggy clods shall become lovers and lamps,
And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or woman,
And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,
And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,
And until one and all shall delight us, and we them.

On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.

A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.
1

THERE are who teach only the sweet lessons of peace and safety;
   But I teach lessons of war and death to those I love,
   That they readily meet invasions, when they come.

Lo! Victress on the peaks!
Where thou standest, with mighty brow, regarding the
         world,
(The world, O Libertad, that vainly conspired against thee;)
Out of its countless, beleaguering toils, after thwarting
         them all;
Where thou, dominant, with the dazzling sun around thee,
Towerest now unharm’d, in immortal soundness and bloom—
         lo! in this hour supreme,
No poem proud I, chanting, bring to thee—nor mastery’s
         rapturous verse;
But a little book, containing night’s darkness, and blood–
         dripping wounds,
And psalms of the dead.

BATHED in war’s perfume—delicate flag!
O to hear you call the sailors and the soldiers! flag like
         a beautiful woman!
O to hear the tramp, tramp, of a million answering men!
         O the ships they arm with joy!
O to see you leap and beckon from the tall masts of
         ships!
O to see you peering down on the sailors on the decks!
Flag like the eyes of women.