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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,
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?
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!
SONG OF MYSELF
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
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
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.
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
Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
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,
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,
at the end to arrest it,
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
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
Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,
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,