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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.
51 The past and present wilt -- I have fill'd them, emptied them, And proceed to fill my next fold of the future. Listener up there ! what have you to confide to me? Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening, (Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute
longer.) Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab. Who has done his day's work? who will soonest be through with
his supper? Who wishes to walk with me? Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?
52 The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my
gab and my loitering.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
CHILDREN OF ADAM.
TO THE GARDEN THE WORLD To the garden the world anew ascending,
Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding,
reasons, most wondrous,
FROM PENT-UP ACHING RIVERS. From pent-up aching rivers, From that of myself without which I were nothing, From what I am determin'd to make illustrious, even if I stand
sole among men,
O for you whoever you are your correlative body! O it, more than
all else, you delighting!) From the hungry gnaw that eats me night and day, From native moments, from bashful pains, singing them, Seeking something yet unfound though I have diligently sought it
many a long year, Singing the true song of the soul fitful at random, Renascent with grossest Nature or among animals, Of that, of them and what goes with them my poems informing, of the smell of apples and lemons, of the pairing of birds, of the wet of woods, of the lapping of waves, Of the mad pushes of waves upon the land, I them chanting, The overture lightly sounding, the strain anticipating, The welcome nearness, the sight of the perfect body, The swimmer swimming naked in the bath, or motionless on his
back lying and floating, The female form approaching, I pensive, love-flesh tremulous
aching, The divine list for myself or you or for any one making, The face, the limbs, the index from head to foot, and what 1:
arouses, The mystic deliria, the madness amorous, the utter abandonment, (Hark close and still what I now whisper to you, I love you, O you entirely possess me, O that you and I escape from the rest and go utterly off, free and
lawless, Two hawks in the air, two fishes swimming in the sea not more
lawless than we ;) The furious storm through me careering, I passionately trembling. The oath of the inseparableness of two together, of the woman
that loves me and whom I love more than my life, that oath
swearing, (0 I willingly stake all for you, O let me be lost if it must be so ! O you and I ! what is it to us what the rest do or think? What is all else to us? only that we enjoy each other and exhaust
each other if it must be so ;) From the master, the pilot I yield the vessel to, The general commanding me, commanding all, from him permis.
sion taking, From time the programme hastening, (I have loiter'd too long as
it is,) From sex, from the warp and from the woof, From privacy, from frequent repinings alone, From plenty of persons near and yet the right person not near,
From the soft sliding of hands over me and thrusting of fingers
through my hair and beard, From the long sustain'd kiss upon the mouth or bosom, From the close pressure that makes me or any man drunk, fainting
with excess, From what the divine husband knows, from the work of fatherhood, From exultation, victory and relief, from the bedfellow's embrace
in the night, From the act-poems of eyes, hands, hips and bosoms, From the cling of the trembling arm, From the bending curve and the clinch, From side by side the pliant coverlet off-throwing, From the one so unwilling to have me leave, and me just as un
willing to leave, (Yet a moment O tender waiter, and I return,) From the hour of shining stars and dropping dews, From the night a moment I emerging flitting out, Celebrate you act divine and you children prepared for, And you stalwart loins.
I SING the body electric,
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,
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 flex 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, perhaps more, You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoul
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 water, 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 garde:
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 blind
ing the eyes ; The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of mascu
line 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 cury'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 wita
the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
3 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 sous