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None has begun to think how divine he himself is, and

how certain the future is.

I say that the real and permanent grandeur of these States

must be their religion, Otherwise there is no real and permanent grandeur; (Nor character nor life worthy the name without religion, Nor land nor man or woman without religion.)

I will not make poems with reference to parts,
But I will make poems, songs, thoughts, with reference to

ensemble, And I will not sing with reference to a day, but with refer

ence to all days, And I will not make a poem nor the least part of a poem

but has reference to the soul, Because having look'd at the objects of the universe, I find

there is no one nor any particle of one but has reference to the soul.

Was somebody asking to see the soul?
See, vour own shape and countenance, persons, substances,

beasts, the trees, the running rivers, the rocks and sands. All hold spiritual joys and afterwards loosen them; How can the real body ever die and be buried ?

Of your real body and any man's or woman's real body, Item for item it will elude the hands of the corpse-cleaners

and pass to fitting spheres, Carrying what has accrued to it from the moment of birth

to the moment of death.

Not the types set up by the printer return their impression,

the meaning, the main concern, Any more than man's substance and life or a woman's

substance and life return in the body and the soul, Indifferently before death and after death.

Behold, the body includes and is the meaning, the main

concern and includes and is the soul; Whoever you are, how superb and how divine is your body,

or any part of it!


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.

I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase

itself to you,


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 knowl

edge 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.

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


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 colorless 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 off

spring taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old


And what do you think has become of the women and


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


The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk he


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

house-sill, 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 affec

tions, 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


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.

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,

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