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I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,
ing flesh is enough, To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm
ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment,
what is this then ? I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea. There is something in staying close to men and women
and looking on them, and in the contact and odor of
them, that pleases the soul well, All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.
A man's body at auction, (For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch
the sale) I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his
business. Gentlemen look on this wonder, Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough
for it, For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without
one animal or plant, For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily rolld. In this head the all-baffling brain, In it and below it the makings of heroes. Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning
in tendon and nerve, They shall be stript that you may see them. Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition, Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh
not fabby, good-sized arms and legs, And wonders within there yet. Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood !
express'd in parlors and lecture-rooms ?) This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall
be fathers in their turns, In him the start of populous states and rich republics, Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodi
ments and enjoyments.
How do you know who shall come from the offspring of
his offspring through the centuries ? (Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you
could trace back through the centuries ?)
A woman's body at auction,
Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations and times all over the earth?
If anything is sacred the human body is sacred,
more beautiful than the most beautiful face.
Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body?
or the fool that corrupted her own live body? For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal
OUT OF THE ROLLING OCEAN THE CROWD
separated, Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect ! But as for
the irresistible sea is to separate us, As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us
diverse forever; Be not impatient — a little space — know you I salute the
air, the ocean and the land, Every day at sundown for your dear sake my love.
WE TWO, HOW LONG WE WERE FOOL'D
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together,
lanes mornings and evenings, We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals, We are two predatory hawks, we soar above and look
down, We are two resplendent suns, we it is who balance our
selves orbic and stellar, we are as two comets,
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods, we spring
We are two clouds forenoons and afternoons driving over
head, We are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves
rolling over each other and interwetting each other, We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive,
pervious, impervious, We are snow, rain, cold, darkness, we are each product
and influence of the globe, We have circled and circled till we have arrived home
again, we two, We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.
FACING WEST FROM CALIFORNIA'S SHORES
maternity, the land of migrations, look afar, Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost
circled ; For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of
Kashmere, From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and
the hero, From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice
islands, Long having wander'd since, round the earth having
wander'd, Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous, (But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound ?)
IN PATHS UNTRODDEN
ures, profits, conformities, Which too long I was offering to feed my soul, Clear to me now standards not yet publish’d, clear to me
that my soul, That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades, Here by myself away from the clank of the world, Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic, No longer abash’d, (for in this secluded spot I can respond
as I would not dare elsewhere,) Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet
contains all the rest, Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly
attachment, Projecting them along that substantial life, Bequeathing hence types of athletic love, Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first year, I proceed for all who are or have been young men, To tell the secret of my nights and days, To celebrate the need of comrades.
FOR YOU O DEMOCRACY
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades. I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the
rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,