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O a word to clear one's path ahead endlessly!
SONG OF MYSELF.
CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
I loafe and invite my soul,
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,
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,
vine, My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the pass
ing 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 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 begin
ning and the end,
Urge and urge and urge,
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
Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
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 ;
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
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
lack of money, or depressions or exaltations, Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the sever 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
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,