1
 
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.
 
2
 
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are
    crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
 
The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the
    distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised
    and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
 
The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love—root, silk—thread,
    crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the
    passing of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and
    dark—color’d sea—rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the
    eddies of the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs
    wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the
    fields and hill—sides,
The feeling of health, the full—noon trill, the song of me rising
    from bed and meeting the sun.
 
Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d
    the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
 
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the
    origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are
    millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor
    look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the
    spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things
    from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
 
3
 
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
    beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
 
There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
 
Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always
    substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed
    of life.
 
To elaborate is no avail, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.
 
Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well
    entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.
 
Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is
    not my soul.
 
Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.
 
Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while
    they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.
 
Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man
    hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
    less familiar than the rest.
 
I am satisfied —I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed—fellow sleeps at my side
    through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day
    with stealthy tread,
Leaving me baskets cover’d with white towels swelling the
    house with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream
    at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and
    which is ahead?
 
4
 
Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward
    and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors
    old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I
    love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill—doing or
    loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful
    news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.
Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle,
    unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable
    certain rest,
Looking with side—curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering
    at it.
 
Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog
    with linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.
 
5
 
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself
    to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.
 
Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture,
    not even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.
 
I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer
    morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d
    over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom—bone, and plunged your
    tongue to my bare—stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held
    my feet.
 
Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge
    that pass all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my
    own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the
    women my sisters and lovers,
 
And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap’d stones, elder,
    mullein and poke—weed.
 
6
 
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
    hands,
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any
    more than he.
 
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
    green stuff woven.
 
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we
    may see and remark, and say Whose?
 
Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the
    vegetation.
 
Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow
    zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the
    same, I receive them the same.
 
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
 
Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken
    soon out of their mothers’ laps,
And here you are the mothers’ laps.
 
This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old
    mothers,
Darker than the colourless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.
 
O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths
    for nothing.
 
I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men
    and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring
    taken soon out of their laps.
 
What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and
    children?
 
They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at
    the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.
 
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and
    luckier.
 
7
 
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I
    know it.
 
I pass death with the dying and birth with the new—wash’d
    babe, and am not contain’d between my hat and boots,
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one
    good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all
    good.
 
I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal
    and fathomless as myself,
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)
 
Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and
    female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be
    slighted,
 
For me the sweet—heart and the old maid, for me mothers and
    the mothers of mothers,
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children.
 
Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,
I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot
    be shaken away.
 
8
 
The little one sleeps in its cradle,
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away
    flies with my hand.
 
The youngster and the red—faced girl turn aside up the bushy
    hill,
I peeringly view them from the top.
 
The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the
    pistol has fallen.
 
The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot—soles, talk of
    the promenaders,
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb,
    the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow—sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow—balls,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous’d mobs,
The flap of the curtain’d litter, a sick man inside borne to the
    hospital,
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly
    working his passage to the centre of the crowd,
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,
What groans of over—fed or half—starv’d who fall sunstruck or
    in fits,
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry
    home and give birth to babes,
 
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what
    howls restrain’d by decorum,
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made,
    acceptances, rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show or resonance of them —I come and I
    depart.
 
9
 
The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest—time loads the slow—drawn
    wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack’d to the sagging mow.
 
I am there, I help, I came stretch’d atop of the load,
I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,
I jump from the cross—beams and seize the clover and
    timothy,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.
 
10
 
Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,
In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh—kill’d game,
Falling asleep on the gather’d leaves with my dog and gun by
    my side.
 
The Yankee clipper is under her sky—sails, she cuts the sparkle
    and scud,
My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously
    from the deck.
 
The boatmen and clam—diggers arose early and stopt for
    me,
I tuck’d my trowser—ends in my boots and went and had a
    good time;
You should have been with us that day round the chowder—kettle.
 
I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far
    west, the bride was a red girl,
Her father and his friends sat near cross—legged and dumbly
    smoking, they had moccasins to their feet and large
    thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,
On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins,
    his luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held
    his bride by the hand,
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight
    locks descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach’d
    to her feet.
 
The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
Through the swung half—door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy
    and weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured
    him,
And brought water and fill’d a tub for his sweated body and
    bruis’d feet,
And gave him a room that enter’d from my own, and gave
    him some coarse clean clothes,
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and
    ankles;
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and
    pass’d north,
I had him sit next me at table, my fire—lock lean’d in the
    corner.
 
11
 
Twenty—eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty—eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty—eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.
 
She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the
    window.
 
Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.
 
Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.
 
Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty—ninth bather,
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.
 
The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from
    their long hair,
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.
 
An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies,
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.
 
The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge
    to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and
    bending arch,
They do not think whom they souse with spray.
 
12
 
The butcher—boy puts off his killing—clothes, or sharpens his
    knife at the stall in the market,
I loiter enjoying his repartee and his shuffle and break—down.
 
Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil,
Each has his main—sledge, they are all out, there is a great
    heat in the fire.
 
From the cinder—strew’d threshold I follow their movements,
The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive
    arms,
Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand
    so sure,
They do not hasten, each man hits in his place.
 
13
 
The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block
    swags underneath on its tied—over chain,
The negro that drives the long dray of the stone—yard, steady
    and tall he stands pois’d on one leg on the string—piece,
His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens
    over his hip—band,
His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of
    his hat away from his forehead,
The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the
    black of his polish’d and perfect limbs.
 
I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not
    stop there,
I go with the team also.
 
In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well
    as forward sluing,
To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object
    missing,
Absorbing all to myself and for this song.
 
Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade,
    what is that you express in your eyes?
It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.
 
My tread scares the wood—drake and wood—duck on my
    distant and day—long ramble,
They rise together, they slowly circle around.
 
I believe in those wing’d purposes,
And acknowledge red, yellow, white, playing within me,
And consider green and violet and the tufted crown intentional,
And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not
    something else,
And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet trills
    pretty well to me,
And the look of the bay mare shames silliness out of me.
 
14
 
The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya—honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listening close,
Find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry sky.
 
The sharp—hoof’d moose of the north, the cat on the housesill,
    the chickadee, the prairie—dog,
The litter of the grunting sow as they tug at her teats,
The brood of the turkey—hen and she with her half—spread
    wings,
I see in them and myself the same old law.
 
The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred
    affections,
They scorn the best I can do to relate them.
 
I am enamour’d of growing out—doors,
Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods,
Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes
    and mauls, and the drivers of horses,
I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out.
 
What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me,
Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,
Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take
    me,
Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,
Scattering it freely forever.
 
15
 
The pure contralto sings in the organ loft,
The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane
    whistles its wild ascending lisp,
The married and unmarried children ride home to their
    Thanksgiving dinner,
The pilot seizes the king—pin, he heaves down with a strong
    arm,
The mate stands braced in the whale—boat, lance and harpoon
    are ready,
 
The duck—shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches,
The deacons are ordain’d with cross’d hands at the altar,
The spinning—girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big
    wheel,
The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First—day loafe
    and looks at the oats and rye,
The lunatic is carried at last to the asylum a confirm’d case,
(He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his
    mother’s bedroom;)
The jour printer with gray head and gaunt jaws works at his
    case,
He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the
    manuscript;
The malform’d limbs are tied to the surgeon’s table,
What is removed drops horribly in a pail;
The quadroon girl is sold at the auction—stand, the drunkard
    nods by the bar—room stove,
The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his
    beat, the gate—keeper marks who pass,
The young fellow drives the express—wagon, (I love him,
    though I do not know him;)
The half—breed straps on his light boots to compete in the race,
The western turkey—shooting draws old and young, some lean
    on their rifles, some sit on logs,
Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position,
    levels his piece;
The groups of newly—come immigrants cover the wharf or levee,
As the woolly—pates hoe in the sugar—field, the overseer views
    them from his saddle,
The bugle calls in the ball—room, the gentlemen run for their
    partners, the dancers bow to each other,
The youth lies awake in the cedar—roof’d garret and harks to
    the musical rain,
The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron,
The squaw wrapt in her yellow—hemm’d cloth is offering
    moccasins and bead—bags for sale,
The connoisseur peers along the exhibition—gallery with
    half—shut eyes bent sideways,
 
As the deck—hands make fast the steamboat the plank is
    thrown for the shore—going passengers,
The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister
    winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the
    knots,
The one—year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago
    borne her first child,
The clean—hair’d Yankee girl works with her sewing—machine
    or in the factory or mill,
The paving—man leans on his two—handed rammer, the
    reporter’s lead flies swiftly over the note—book, the signpainter
    is lettering with blue and gold,
The canal boy trots on the tow—path, the book—keeper counts
    at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,
The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers
    follow him,
The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions,
The regatta is spread on the bay, the race is begun, (how the
    white sails sparkle!)
The drover watching his drove sings out to them that would stray,
The pedler sweats with his pack on his back, (the purchaser
    higgling about the odd cent;)
The bride unrumples her white dress, the minute—hand of the
    clock moves slowly,
The opium—eater reclines with rigid head and just—open’d lips,
The prostitute draggles her shawl, her bonnet bobs on her
    tipsy and pimpled neck,
The crowd laugh at her blackguard oaths, the men jeer and
    wink to each other,
(Miserable! I do not laugh at your oaths nor jeer you;)
The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the
    great Secretaries,
On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with
    twined arms,
The crew of the fish—smack pack repeated layers of halibut in
    the hold,
The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his
    cattle,
 
As the fare—collector goes through the train he gives notice by
    the jingling of loose change,
The floor—men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the
    roof, the masons are calling for mortar,
In single file each shouldering his hod pass onward the
    laborers;
Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is
    gather’d, it is the fourth of Seventh—month, (what salutes
    of cannon and small arms!)
Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the
    mower mows, and the winter—grain falls in the ground;
Off on the lakes the pike—fisher watches and waits by the hole
    in the frozen surface,
The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter
    strikes deep with his axe,
Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton—wood
    or pecan—trees,
Coon—seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through
    those drain’d by the Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas,
Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or
    Altamahaw,
Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and
    great—grandsons around them,
In walls of adobie, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers
    after their day’s sport,
The city sleeps and the country sleeps,
The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time,
The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband
    sleeps by his wife;
And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.
 
16
 
I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuff’d with the stuff that is coarse and stuff’d with the stuff
    that is fine,
 
One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same
    and the largest the same,
A Southerner soon as a Northerner, a planter nonchalant
    and hospitable down by the Oconee I live,
A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade, my joints the
    limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth,
A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer—skin
    leggings, a Louisianian or Georgian,
A boatman over lakes or bays or along coasts, a Hoosier,
    Badger, Buck—eye;
At home on Kanadian snow—shoes or up in the bush, or with
    fishermen off Newfoundland,
At home in the fleet of ice—boats, sailing with the rest and
    tacking,
At home on the hills of Vermont or in the woods of Maine,
    or the Texan ranch,
Comrade of Californians, comrade of free North—Westerners,
    (loving their big proportions,)
Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen, comrade of all who shake
    hands and welcome to drink and meat,
A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfullest,
A novice beginning yet experient of myriads of seasons,
Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion,
A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker,
Prisoner, fancy—man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest.
 
I resist any thing better than my own diversity,
Breathe the air but leave plenty after me,
And am not stuck up, and am in my place.
 
(The moth and the fish—eggs are in their place,
The bright suns I see and the dark suns I cannot see are in
    their place,
The palpable is in its place and the impalpable is in its place.)
 
17
 
These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands,
    they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or
    next to nothing,
 
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they
    are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are
    nothing.
 
This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the
    water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe.
 
18
 
With music strong I come, with my cornets and my drums,
I play not marches for accepted victors only, I play marches
    for conquer’d and slain persons.
 
Have you heard that it was good to gain the day?
I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in
    which they are won.
 
I beat and pound for the dead,
I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest for
    them.
 
Vivas to those who have fail’d!
And to those whose war—vessels sank in the sea!
And to those themselves who sank in the sea!
And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome
    heroes!
And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest
    heroes known!
 
19
 
This is the meal equally set, this the meat for natural hunger,
It is for the wicked just the same as the righteous, I make
    appointments with all,
I will not have a single person slighted or left away,
The kept—woman, sponger, thief, are hereby invited,
The heavy—lipp’d slave is invited, the venerealee is invited;
There shall be no difference between them and the rest.
 
This is the press of a bashful hand, this the float and odor of
    hair,
 
This the touch of my lips to yours, this the murmur of yearning,
This the far—off depth and height reflecting my own face,
This the thoughtful merge of myself, and the outlet again.
 
Do you guess I have some intricate purpose?
Well I have, for the Fourth—month showers have, and the mica
    on the side of a rock has.
 
Do you take it I would astonish?
Does the daylight astonish? does the early redstart twittering
    through the woods?
Do I astonish more than they?
 
This hour I tell things in confidence,
I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.
 
20
 
Who goes there? hankering, gross, mystical, nude;
How is it I extract strength from the beef I eat?
 
What is a man anyhow? what am I? what are you?
 
All I mark as my own you shall offset it with your own,
Else it were time lost listening to me.
 
I do not snivel that snivel the world over,
That months are vacuums and the ground but wallow and filth.
 
Whimpering and truckling fold with powders for invalids,
    conformity goes to the fourth—remov’d,
I wear my hat as I please indoors or out.
 
Why should I pray? why should I venerate and be ceremonious?
 
Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair, counsel’d
    with doctors and calculated close,
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.
 
In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley—corn less,
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.
 
I know I am solid and sound,
To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,
All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means.
 
I know I am deathless,
I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter’s compass,
I know I shall not pass like a child’s carlacue cut with a burnt
    stick at night.
 
I know I am august,
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood,
I see that the elementary laws never apologize,
(I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house
    by, after all.)
 
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
 
One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is
    myself,
And whether I come to my own to—day or in ten thousand or
    ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can
    wait.
 
My foothold is tenon’d and mortis’d in granite,
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
And I know the amplitude of time.
 
21
 
I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are
    with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I
    translate into a new tongue.
 
I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men.
 
I chant the chant of dilation or pride,
We have had ducking and deprecating about enough,
I show that size is only development.
 
Have you outstript the rest? are you the President?
It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there every one, and
    still pass on.
 
I am he that walks with the tender and growing night,
I call to the earth and sea half—held by the night.
 
Press close bare—bosom’d night —press close magnetic
    nourishing night!
Night of south winds —night of the large few stars!
Still nodding night —mad naked summer night.
 
Smile O voluptuous cool—breath’d earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset —earth of the mountains misty—topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far—swooping elbow’d earth —rich apple—blossom’d earth!
Smile, for your lover comes.
 
Prodigal, you have given me love —therefore I to you give
    love!
O unspeakable passionate love.
 
22
 
You sea! I resign myself to you also —I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me,
We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of
    sight of the land,
Cushion me soft, rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet, I can repay you.
 
Sea of stretch’d ground—swells,
Sea breathing broad and convulsive breaths,
Sea of the brine of life and of unshovell’d yet always—ready
    graves,
Howler and scooper of storms, capricious and dainty sea,
I am integral with you, I too am of one phase and of all phases.
 
Partaker of influx and efflux, I, extoller of hate and conciliation,
Extoller of amies and those that sleep in each others’ arms.
 
I am he attesting sympathy,
(Shall I make my list of things in the house and skip the house
    that supports them?)
 
I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the
    poet of wickedness also.
 
What blurt is this about virtue and about vice?
Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand
    indifferent,
My gait is no fault—finder’s or rejecter’s gait,
I moisten the roots of all that has grown.
 
Did you fear some scrofula out of the unflagging pregnancy?
Did you guess the celestial laws are yet to be work’d over and
    rectified?
 
I find one side a balance and the antipodal side a balance,
Soft doctrine as steady help as stable doctrine,
Thoughts and deeds of the present our rouse and early start.
 
This minute that comes to me over the past decillions,
There is no better than it and now.
 
What behaved well in the past or behaves well to—day is not
    such a wonder,
The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean
    man or an infidel.
 
23
 
Endless unfolding of words of ages!
And mine a word of the modern, the word En—Masse.
 
A word of the faith that never balks,
Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time
    absolutely.
 
It alone is without flaw, it alone rounds and completes all,
That mystic baffling wonder alone completes all.
 
I accept Reality and dare not question it,
Materialism first and last imbuing.
 
Hurrah for positive science! long live exact demonstration!
Fetch stonecrop mixt with cedar and branches of lilac,
This is the lexicographer, this the chemist, this made a
    grammar of the old cartouches,
These mariners put the ship through dangerous unknown
    seas,
This is the geologist, this works with the scalpel, and this is a
    mathematician.
 
Gentlemen, to you the first honors always!
Your facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling,
I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling.
 
Less the reminders of properties told my words,
And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom
    and extrication,
And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor
    men and women fully equipt,
And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and
   them that plot and conspire.
 
24
 
Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son,
Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding.
 
No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or
    apart from them,
No more modest than immodest.
 
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!
 
Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.
 
Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the
    current and index.
 
I speak the pass—word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their
    counterpart of on the same terms.
 
Through me many long dumb voices,
Voices of the interminable generation of prisoners and slaves,
Voices of the diseas’d and despairing and of thieves and dwarfs,
Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion,
And of the threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and
    of the father—stuff,
And of the rights of them the others are down upon,
Of the deform’d, trivial, flat, foolish, despised,
Fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung.
 
Through me forbidden voices,
Voices of sexes and lusts, voices veil’d and I remove the veil,
Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigur’d.
 
I do not press my fingers across my mouth,
I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and
    heart,
Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.
 
I believe in the flesh and the appetites,
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag
    of me is a miracle.
 
Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch
    or am touch’d from,
The scent of these arm—pits aroma finer than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.
 
If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread
    of my own body, or any part of it,
Translucent mould of me it shall be you!
Shaded ledges and rests it shall be you!
Firm masculine colter it shall be you!
Whatever goes to the tilth of me it shall be you!
You my rich blood! your milky stream pale strippings of my
    life!
Breast that presses against other breasts it shall be you!
My brain it shall be your occult convolutions!
Root of wash’d sweet—flag! timorous pond—snipe! nest of
    guarded duplicate eggs! it shall be you!
Mix’d tussled hay of head, beard, brawn, it shall be you!
Trickling sap of maple, fibre of manly wheat, it shall be you!
Sun so generous it shall be you!
Vapors lighting and shading my face it shall be you!
You sweaty brooks and dews it shall be you!
Winds whose soft—tickling genitals rub against me it shall be
    you!
Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in
    my winding paths, it shall be you!
Hands I have taken, face I have kiss’d, mortal I have ever
    touch’d, it shall be you.
 
I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious,
Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy,
I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of
    my faintest wish,
Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the
    friendship I take again.
 
That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,
A morning—glory at my window satisfies me more than the
    metaphysics of books.
 
To behold the day—break!
The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows,
The air tastes good to my palate.
 
Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising,
    freshly exuding,
Scooting obliquely high and low.
 
Something I cannot see puts upward libidinous prongs,
Seas of bright juice suffuse heaven.
 
The earth by the sky staid with, the daily close of their junction,
The heav’d challenge from the east that moment over my head,
The mocking taunt, See then whether you shall be master!
 
25
 
Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun—rise would kill
    me,
If I could not now and always send sun—rise out of me.
 
We also ascend dazzling and tremendous as the sun,
We found our own O my soul in the calm and cool of the
    day—break.
 
My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach,
With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes
    of worlds.
 
Speech is the twin of my vision, it is unequal to measure itself,
It provokes me forever, it says sarcastically,
Walt you contain enough, why don’t you let it out then?
 
Come now I will not be tantalized, you conceive too much of
    articulation,
Do you not know O speech how the buds beneath you are
    folded?
Waiting in gloom, protected by frost,
The dirt receding before my prophetical screams,
I underlying causes to balance them at last,
 
My knowledge my live parts, it keeping tally with the
    meaning of all things,
Happiness, (which whoever hears me let him or her set out in
    search of this day.)
 
My final merit I refuse you, I refuse putting from me what I
    really am,
Encompass worlds, but never try to encompass me,
I crowd your sleekest and best by simply looking toward
    you.
 
Writing and talk do not prove me,
I carry the plenum of proof and every thing else in my face,
With the hush of my lips I wholly confound the skeptic.
 
26
 
Now I will do nothing but listen,
To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute
    toward it.
 
I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of
    flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals.
I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice,
I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or
    following,
Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the
    day and night,
Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh
    of work—people at their meals,
The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the
    sick,
The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips
    pronouncing a death—sentence,
The heave’e’yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves,
    the refrain of the anchor—lifters,
The ring of alarm—bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of
    swift—streaking engines and hose—carts with premonitory
    tinkles and color’d lights,
The steam—whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching
    cars,
 
The slow march play’d at the head of the association marching
    two and two,
(They go to guard some corpse, the flag—tops are draped with
    black muslin.)
 
I hear the violoncello, ('tis the young man’s heart’s complaint,)
I hear the key’d cornet, it glides quickly in through my ears,
It shakes mad—sweet pangs through my belly and breast.
 
I hear the chorus, it is a grand opera,
Ah this indeed is music —this suits me.
 
A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me,
The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full.
 
I hear the train’d soprano (what work with hers is this?)
The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies,
It wrenches such ardors from me I did not know I possess’d
    them,
It sails me, I dab with bare feet, they are lick’d by the indolent
    waves,
I am cut by bitter and angry hail, I lose my breath,
Steep’d amid honey’d morphine, my windpipe throttled in
    fakes of death,
At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles,
And that we call Being.
 
27
 
To be in any form, what is that?
(Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back
    thither,)
If nothing lay more develop’d the quahaug in its callous shell
    were enough.
 
Mine is no callous shell,
I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop,
They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me.
 
I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy,
To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I
    can stand.
 
28
 
Is this then a touch? quivering me to a new identity,
Flames and ether making a rush for my veins,
Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them,
My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is
    hardly different from myself,
On all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs,
Straining the udder of my heart for its withheld drip,
Behaving licentious toward me, taking no denial,
Depriving me of my best as for a purpose,
Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist,
Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and
    pasture—fields,
Immodestly sliding the fellow—senses away,
They bribed to swap off with touch and go and graze at the
    edges of me,
No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my
    anger,
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a while,
Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry me.
 
The sentries desert every other part of me,
They have left me helpless to a red marauder,
They all come to the headland to witness and assist against
    me.
 
I am given up by traitors,
I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the
    greatest traitor,
I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me
    there.
 
You villain touch! what are you doing? my breath is tight in
    its throat,
Unclench your floodgates, you are too much for me.
 
29
 
Blind loving wrestling touch, sheath’d hooded sharp—tooth’d
    touch!
Did it make you ache so, leaving me?
 
Parting track’d by arriving, perpetual payment of perpetual
    loan,
Rich showering rain, and recompense richer afterward.
 
Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and
    vital,
Landscapes projected masculine, full—sized and golden.
 
30
 
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.
 
31
 
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey—work of
    the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and
    the egg of the wren,
And the tree—toad is a chef—d’oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
 
And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any
    statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of
    infidels.
 
I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long—threaded moss, fruits,
    grains, esculent roots,
And am stucco’d with quadrupeds and birds all over,
And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,
But call any thing back again when I desire it.
 
In vain the speeding or shyness,
In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my
    approach,
In vain the mastodon retreats beneath its own powder’d
    bones,
In vain objects stand leagues off and assume manifold shapes,
In vain the ocean setting in hollows and the great monsters
    lying low,
In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky,
In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs,
In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods,
In vain the razor—bill’d auk sails far north to Labrador,
I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the
    cliff.
 
32
 
I think I could turn and live with animals, they’re so placid
   and self—contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.
 
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of
    owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands
    of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
 
So they show their relations to me and I accept them,
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in
    their possession.
 
I wonder where they get those tokens,
Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop
    them?
 
Myself moving forward then and now and forever,
Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,
Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,
Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers,
Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on
    brotherly terms.
 
A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my
    caresses,
Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,
Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,
Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly
    moving.
 
His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,
His well—built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around
    and return.
I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
Why do I need your paces when I myself out—gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.
 
33
 
Space and Time! now I see it is true, what I guess’d at,
What I guess’d when I loaf’d on the grass,
What I guess’d while I lay alone in my bed,
And again as I walk’d the beach under the paling stars of the
    morning.
 
My ties and ballasts leave me, my elbows rest in sea—gaps,
I skirt sierras, my palms cover continents,
I am afoot with my vision.
 
By the city’s quadrangular houses —in log huts, camping
    with lumbermen,
Along the ruts of the turnpike, along the dry gulch and rivulet
    bed,
Weeding my onion—patch or hoeing rows of carrots and
    parsnips, crossing savannas, trailing in forests,
Prospecting, gold—digging, girdling the trees of a new
    purchase,
Scorch’d ankle—deep by the hot sand, hauling my boat down
    the shallow river,
Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead, where
    the buck turns furiously at the hunter,
Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock, where
    the otter is feeding on fish,
Where the alligator in his tough pimples sleeps by the bayou,
Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where
    the beaver pats the mud with his paddle—shaped tail;
Over the growing sugar, over the yellow—flower’d cotton
    plant, over the rice in its low moist field,
Over the sharp—peak’d farm house, with its scallop’d scum
    and slender shoots from the gutters,
Over the western persimmon, over the long—leav’d corn, over
    the delicate blue—flower flax,
Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer
    there with the rest,
Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the
    breeze;
Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on
    by low scragged limbs,
Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the
    leaves of the brush,
Where the quail is whistling betwixt the woods and the
    wheatlot,
Where the bat flies in the Seventh—month eve, where the great
    gold—bug drops through the dark,
Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and
    flows to the meadow,
Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous
    shuddering of their hides,
 
Where the cheese—cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons
    straddle the hearth—slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons
    from the rafters;
Where trip—hammers crash, where the press is whirling its
    cylinders,
Where the human heart beats with terrible throes under its
    ribs,
Where the pear—shaped balloon is floating aloft, (floating in
    it myself and looking composedly down,)
Where the life—car is drawn on the slip—noose, where the heat
    hatches pale—green eggs in the dented sand,
Where the she—whale swims with her calf and never forsakes it,
Where the steam—ship trails hind—ways its long pennant of smoke,
Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water,
Where the half—burn’d brig is riding on unknown currents,
Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are
    corrupting below;
Where the dense—starr’d flag is borne at the head of the
    regiments,
Approaching Manhattan up by the long—stretching island,
Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my
    countenance,
Upon a door—step, upon the horse—block of hard wood
    outside,
Upon the race—course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good
    game of base—ball,
At he—festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license,
    bull—dances, drinking, laughter,
At the cider—mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash,
    sucking the juice through a straw,
At apple—peelings wanting kisses for all the red fruit I find,
At musters, beach—parties, friendly bees, huskings,
    house—raisings;
Where the mocking—bird sounds his delicious gurgles, cackles,
    screams, weeps,
Where the hay—rick stands in the barn—yard, where the dry—stalks
    are scatter’d, where the brood—cow waits in the hovel,
 
Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the
    stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen,
Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with
    short jerks,
Where sun—down shadows lengthen over the limitless and
    lonesome prairie,
Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square
    miles far and near,
Where the humming—bird shimmers, where the neck of the
    long—lived swan is curving and winding,
Where the laughing—gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs
    her near—human laugh,
Where bee—hives range on a gray bench in the garden half hid
    by the high weeds,
Where band—neck’d partridges roost in a ring on the ground
    with their heads out,
Where burial coaches enter the arch’d gates of a cemetery,
Where winter wolves bark amid wastes of snow and icicled
    trees,
Where the yellow—crown’d heron comes to the edge of the
    marsh at night and feeds upon small crabs,
Where the splash of swimmers and divers cools the warm
    noon,
Where the katy—did works her chromatic reed on the
    walnut—tree over the wall,
Through patches of citrons and cucumbers with silver—wired
    leaves,
Through the salt—lick or orange glade, or under conical firs,
Through the gymnasium, through the curtain’d saloon,
    through the office or public hall;
Pleas’d with the native and pleas’d with the foreign, pleas’d
    with the new and old,
Pleas’d with the homely woman as well as the handsome,
Pleas’d with the quakeress as she puts off her bonnet and
    talks melodiously,
Pleas’d with the tune of the choir of the whitewash’d church,
Pleas’d with the earnest words of the sweating Methodist
    preacher, impress’d seriously at the camp—meeting;
Looking in at the shop—windows of Broadway the whole
    forenoon, flatting the flesh of my nose on the thick plate glass,
 
Wandering the same afternoon with my face turn’d up to the
    clouds, or down a lane or along the beach,
My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I
    in the middle;
Coming home with the silent and dark—cheek’d bush—boy,
    (behind me he rides at the drape of the day,)
Far from the settlements studying the print of animals’ feet,
    or the moccasin print,
By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish
    patient,
Nigh the coffin’d corpse when all is still, examining with a
    candle;
Voyaging to every port to dicker and adventure,
Hurrying with the modern crowd as eager and flickle as any,
Hot toward one I hate, ready in my madness to knife him,
Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from
    me a long while,
Walking the old hills of Judaea with the beautiful gentle God
    by my side,
Speeding through space, speeding through heaven and the
    stars,
Speeding amid the seven satellites and the broad ring, and
    the diameter of eighty thousand miles,
Speeding with tail’d meteors, throwing fire—balls like the rest,
Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in
    its belly,
Storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning,
Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing,
I tread day and night such roads.
 
I visit the orchards of spheres and look at the product,
And look at quintillions ripen’d and look at quintillions green.
 
I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul,
My course runs below the soundings of plummets.
 
I help myself to material and immaterial,
No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me.
 
I anchor my ship for a little while only,
My messengers continually cruise away or bring their returns
    to me.
 
I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a
    pike—pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue.
 
I ascend to the foretruck,
I take my place late at night in the crow’s—nest,
We sail the arctic sea, it is plenty light enough,
Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the
    wonderful beauty,
The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the
    scenery is plain in all directions,
The white—topt mountains show in the distance, I fling out
    my fancies toward them,
We are approaching some great battle—field in which we are
    soon to be engaged,
We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass
    with still feet and caution,
Or we are entering by the suburbs some vast and ruin’d city,
The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living
    cities of the globe.
 
I am a free companion, I bivouac by invading watchfires,
I turn the bridegroom out of bed and stay with the bride
    myself,
I tighten her all night to my thighs and lips.
 
My voice is the wife’s voice, the screech by the rail of the stairs,
They fetch my man’s body up dripping and drown’d.
 
I understand the large hearts of heroes,
The courage of present times and all times,
How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of
    the steamship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm,
How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faithful
    of days and faithful of nights,
And chalk’d in large letters on a board, Be of good cheer, we
    will not desert you;
 
How he follow’d with them and tack’d with them three days
    and would not give it up,
How he saved the drifting company at last,
How the lank loose—gown’d women look’d when boated
    from the side of their prepared graves,
How the silent old—faced infants and the lifted sick, and the
    sharp—lipp’d unshaved men;
All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,
I am the man, I suffer’d, I was there.
 
The disdain and calmness of martyrs,
The mother of old, condemn’d for a witch, burnt with dry
    wood, her children gazing on,
The hounded slave that flags in the race, leans by the fence,
    blowing, cover’d with sweat,
The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the
    murderous buckshot and the bullets,
All these I feel or am.
 
I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs,
Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the
    marksmen,
I clutch the rails of the fence, my gore dribs, thinn’d with the
    ooze of my skin,
I fall on the weeds and stones,
The riders spur their unwilling horses, haul close,
Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with
    whip—stocks.
 
Agonies are one of my changes of garments,
I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself
    become the wounded person,
My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.
 
I am the mash’d fireman with breast—bone broken,
Tumbling walls buried me in their debris,
Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my
    comrades,
I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels,
They have clear’d the beams away, they tenderly life me forth.
 
I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for
    my sake,
Painless after all I lie exhausted but not so unhappy,
White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are
    bared of their fire—caps,
The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches.
 
Distant and dead resuscitate,
They show as the dial or move as the hands of me, I am the
    clock myself.
 
I am an old artillerist, I tell of my fort’s bombardment,
I am there again.
 
Again the long roll of the drummers,
Again the attacking cannon, mortars,
Again to my listeing ears the cannon responsive.
 
I take part, I see and hear the whole,
The cries, curses, roar, the plaudits for well—aim’d shots,
The ambulanza slowly passing trailing its red drip,
Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable
    repairs,
The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan—shaped
    explosion,
The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air.
 
Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously
    waves with his hand,
He gasps through the clot Mind not me —mind
    —the entrenchments.
 
34
 
Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth,
(I tell not the fall of Alamo,
Not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo,
The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo,)
'Tis the tale of the murder in cold blood of four hundred and
    twelve young men.
 
Retreating they had form’d in a hollow square with their
    baggage for breastworks,
Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemy’s, nine
    times their number, was the price they took in advance,
Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone,
They treated for an honorable capitulation, receiv’d writing
    and seal, gave up their arms and march’d back prisoners
    of war.
 
They were the glory of the race of rangers,
Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship,
Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and
    affectionate,
Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters,
Not a single one over thirty years of age.
 
The second First—day morning they were brought out in
    squads and massacred, it was beautiful early summer,
The work commenced about five o’clock and was over by
   eight.
 
None obey’d the command to kneel,
Some made a mad and helpless rush, some stood stark and
    straight,
A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart, the living and
    dead lay together,
The maim’d and mangled dug in the dirt, the new—comers saw
    them there,
Some half—kill’d attempted to crawl away,
These were despatch’d with bayonets or batter’d with the
    blunts of muskets.
A youth not seventeen years old seiz’d his assassin till two
    more came to release him,
The three were all torn and cover’d with the boy’s blood.
 
At eleven o’clock began the burning of the bodies;
That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve
    young men.
 
35
 
Would you hear of an old—time sea—fight?
Would you learn who won by the light of the moon and stars?
List to the yarn, as my grandmother’s father the sailor told it
    to me.
 
Our foe was no skulk in his ship I tell you, (said he,)
His was the surly English pluck, and there is no tougher or
    truer, and never was, and never will be;
Along the lower’d eve he came horribly raking us.
 
We closed with him, the yards entangled, the cannon touch’d,
My captain lash’d fast with his own hands.
 
We had receiv’d some eighteen pound shots under the water,
On our lower—gun—deck two large pieces had burst at the first
    fire, killing all around and blowing up overhead.
 
Fighting at sun—down, fighting at dark,
Ten o’clock at night, the full moon well up, our leaks on the
    gain, and five feet of water reported,
The master—at—arms loosing the prisoners confined in the
    after—hold to give them a chance for themselves.
 
The transit to and from the magazine is now stopt by the sentinels,
They see so many strange faces they do not know whom to trust.
 
Our frigate takes fire,
The other asks if we demand quarter?
If our colors are struck and the fighting done?
 
Now I laugh content, for I hear the voice of my little captain,
We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun
    our part of the fighting.
 
Only three guns are in use,
One is directed by the captain himself against the enemy’s
    main—mast,
Two well serv’d with grape and canister silence his musketry
    and clear his decks.
 
The tops alone second the fire of this little battery, especially
    the main—top,
They hold out bravely during the whole of the action.
 
Not a moment’s cease,
The leaks gain fast on the pumps, the fire eats toward the
    powder—magazine.
 
One of the pumps has been shot away, it is generally thought
    we are sinking.
 
Serene stands the little captain,
He is not hurried, his voice is neither high nor low,
His eyes give more light to us than our battle—lanterns.
 
Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender
    to us.
 
36
 
Stretch’d and still lies the midnight,
Two great hulls motionless on the breast of the darkness,
Our vessel riddled and slowly sinking, preparations to pass
    to the one we have conquer’d,
The captain on the quarter—deck coldly giving his orders
    through a countenance white as a sheet,
Near by the corpse of the child that serv’d in the cabin,
The dead face of an old salt with long white hair and
    carefully curl’d whiskers,
The flames spite of all that can be done flickering aloft and
    below,
The husky voices of the two or three officers yet fit for duty,
Formless stacks of bodies and bodies by themselves, dabs of
    flesh upon the masts and spars,
Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the soothe
    of waves,
Black and impassive guns, litter of powder—parcels, strong
    scent,
A few large stars overhead, silent and mournful shining,
Delicate sniffs of sea—breeze, smells of sedgy grass and fields
    by the shore, death—messages given in charge to survivors,
 
The hiss of the surgeon’s knife, the gnawing teeth of his saw,
Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, and
    long, dull, tapering groan,
These so, these irretrievable.

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S'identifier Commentaires...
Alfredo Jiménez G.
Environ 3 ans

Entre los tesoros más querido de mi biblioteca, existe... poseo un ejemplar de "Leaves of Grass" en su idioma original, es uno de mis "incunables" y no permito que nadie lo toque, (salvo honrosas excepciones).

Cada vez que me siento triste, falto de energía o de optimismo, recurro a él. A pesar de la barrera aparente de la lengua, el maravilloso poder de Walt Whitman se transmigra a mi entendimiento de modo casi inexplicable. La inspiración lírica de este hombre, su enorme fuerza humana, es ajena a toda barrera lingüística, como la música.

"Tío Walt" (como se atrevió a llamarlo Mr. Kitting en la película "Death Poets Society"), era un verdadero sabio; pero no hacía ostentación de ese desmesurado conocimiento, lo vertía en sus versos como si cualquier cosa y este afloraba espontáneo con abrumadora exactitud. Su contínua celebración a la naturaleza y a la misma estructura de su organismo está plenamente documentada, se nota que tenía conocimientos de física química y demás ciencias factuales.

Como todo libro vivo, "Leaves of Grass", no era estático, fue creciendo junto con su autor a lo largo de su vida, llegándonos hasta hoy con su fresca vigencia. Fue también una obra atrevida para su tiempo (1855), cuando era un escándalo incluso escribir en primera persona, o con la libertad que Whitman siempre hizo gala.

Gracias a este poema, me encanta tirarme en la tierra, de donde venimos, a ver crecer la hierba. Recuerdo unos versos, perdidos en ese mar enorme de páginas, son científicamente exactos y muy bellos: "Una brizna de hierba, es un día de trabajo de una estrella".

¡Whitman es único!

Cory Garcia
Environ 6 ans

Play the vids... this is meant to be heard as much as read :)

Préféré par...

Y. J. Hall Alfredo Jiménez G. Joe Marflak Sahar Al Asaad Iván Rêverie MAndy ChAvez Cory Garcia Valee Espinosa LadyBird 49 ERS
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