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Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the
shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me,
shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.
I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
his own funeral drest in his shroud, And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick
of the earth, And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod con
founds the learning of all times, And there is no trade or employment but the young man
following it may become a hero, And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the
wheel'd universe, And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool
and composed before a million universes.
And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,
God, (No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about
God and about death.) I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand
God not in the least, Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful
than myself. Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and
each moment then, In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my
own face in the glass, I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one
is sign’d by God's name, And I leave them where they are, for I know that where
soe'er I go, Others will punctually come for ever and ever.
There is that in me I do not know what it is - but I
know it is in me. Wrench’d and sweaty - calm and cool then my body be
comes, I sleep - I sleep long. I do not know it it is without name - it is a word
unsaid, It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol. Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on, To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes
Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines ! I plead for my
brothers and sisters. Do you see O my brothers and sisters? It is not chaos or death — it is form, union, plan - it is
eternal life -- it is Happiness.
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he com
plains of my gab and my loitering.
yawp over the roofs of the world. The last scud of day holds back for me,
likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds,
It Aings my
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
CHILDREN OF ADAM
I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC
them, And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge
of the soul. Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies
conceal themselves ? And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who
defile the dead ? And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul? And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul ?
The love of the body of man or woman balks account, the
body itself balks account, That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.
The expression of the face balks account,
his face, It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints
of his hips and wrists, It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the Aex of his
waist and knees, dress does not hide him, The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton
and broadcloth, To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, per
haps more, You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and
The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of
women, the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in
the street, the contour of their shape downwards, The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he
swims through the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls silently to and fro in the heave of
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats,
the horseman in his saddle, Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances, The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open
dinner-kettles, and their wives waiting, The female soothing a child, the farmer's daughter in the
garden or cow-yard, The young fellow hoeing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his
six horses through the crowd, The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown,
lusty, good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at
sun-down after work, The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and
resistance, The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and
blinding the eyes; The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of
masculine muscle through clean-setting trowsers and
waist-straps, The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell
strikes suddenly again, and the listening on the alert, The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the
curv'd neck and the counting; Such-like I love — I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the
mother's breast with the little child, Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in
line with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons, And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers
of sons. This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of
person, The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his
hair and beard, the immeasurable meaning of his black
eyes, the richness and breadth of his manners, These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also, He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons
were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome, They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved
him, They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with
personal love, He drank water only, the blood show'd like scarlet through
the clear-brown skin of his face, He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail'd his boat
himself, he had a fine one presented to him by a shipjoiner, he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men
that loved him, When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to
hunt or fish, you would pick him out as the most beau
tiful and vigorous of the gang, You would wish long and long to be with him, you would
wish to sit by him in the boat that you and he might touch each other.