I hear the keyed cornet, it glides quickly in through my ears, it shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and breast. I hear the chorus, it is a grand-opera—this in- deed is music!
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The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full. I hear the trained soprano, she convulses me like the climax of my love-grip,. The orchestra wrenches such ardors from me, I did not know I possessed them,. It sails me, I dab with bare feet, they are licked by the indolent waves,. Steeped amid honeyed morphine, my windpipe squeezed in the fakes of death,. If nothing lay more developed, the quahaug in its callous shell were enough. I have instant conductors all over me, whether I pass or stop,.
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They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me. I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy,. To touch my person to some one else's is about as much as I can stand. Is this then a touch? Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them,. My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself,.
On all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs,. Straining the udder of my heart for its withheld drip,. Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist,. Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sun-light and pasture-fields,. They bribed to swap off with touch, and go and graze at the edges of me,. No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my anger,.
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them awhile,. Then all uniting to stand on a head-land and worry me. They all come to the head-land, to witness and assist against me. I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the greatest traitor,. I went myself first to the head-land, my own hands carried me there.
You villain touch! Unclench your floodgates! Blind, loving, wrestling touch! Parting, tracked by arriving—perpetual payment of the perpetual loan,. Rich showering rain, and recompense richer after- ward. Sprouts take and accumulate—stand by the curb prolific and vital,. They neither hasten their own delivery, nor resist it,.
They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon,. Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so,. I believe the soggy clods shall become lovers and lamps,. And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or woman,. And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,.
And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,. And until every one shall delight us, and we them. I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey- work of the stars,. And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,. And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,. And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,. And the cow crunching with depressed head sur- passes any statue,. And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sex- tillions of infidels,. And I could come every afternoon of my life to look at the farmer's girl boiling her iron tea- kettle and baking short-cake.
I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,. And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,. In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach,. In vain the mastadon retreats beneath its own powdered bones,. In vain objects stand leagues off, and assume manifold shapes,. In vain the ocean settling in hollows, and the great monsters lying low,. In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs,. In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods,.
In vain the razor-billed auk sails far north to Labrador,. I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff. I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained,. I stand and look at them sometimes half the day long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condi- tion,. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,. They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,. No one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,. Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,. Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth. So they show their relations to me, and I accept them,. They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession. I may have passed that way untold times ago and negligently dropt them,.
Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,. Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,. Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my re- membrancers,. Picking out here one that I love, choosing to go with him on brotherly terms. A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and respon- sive to my caresses,. Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,.
Eyes well apart, full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving. His nostrils dilate, my heels embrace him, his well-built limbs tremble with pleasure, we speed around and return. I but use you a moment, then I resign you stal- lion, do not need your paces, out-gallop them,. Swift wind! What I guessed while I lay alone in my bed, and again as I walked the beach under the paling stars of the morning.
My ties and ballasts leave me—I travel, I sail, my elbows rest in the sea-gaps,. By the city's quadrangular houses, in log-huts, camping with lumber-men,. Along the ruts of the turnpike, along the dry gulch and rivulet bed,. Weeding my onion-patch, hoeing rows of carrots and parsnips, crossing savannas, trailing in forests,. Prospecting, gold-digging, girdling the trees of a new purchase,. Scorched ankle-deep by the hot sand, hauling my boat down the shallow river,.
Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead, where the buck turns furiously at the hunter,. Where the rattle-snake suns his flabby length on a rock, where the otter is feeding on fish,. Where the alligator in his tough pimples sleeps by the bayou,. Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-tail,. Over the growing sugar, over the cotton-plant, over the rice in its low moist field,.
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Over the sharp-peaked farm-house, with its scal- loped scum and slender shoots from the gut- ters,. Over the western persimmon, over the long-leaved corn, over the delicate blue-flowered flax,. Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer there with the rest,. Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the breeze,.
Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on by low scragged limbs,. Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the leaves of the brush,. Where the quail is whistling betwixt the woods and the wheat-lot,. Where the bat flies in the July eve, where the great gold-bug drops through the dark,.
Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow,. Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shuddering of their hides,. Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cob- webs fall in festoons from the rafters,. Where trip-hammers crash, where the press is whirling its cylinders,. Wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes out of its ribs,. Where the pear-shaped balloon is floating aloft, floating in it myself and looking composedly down,. Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand,.
Where the she-whale swims with her calves and never forsakes them,. Where the steam-ship trails hind-ways its long pennant of smoke,. Where the ground-shark's fin cuts like a black chip out of the water,. Where the half-burned brig is riding on unknown currents,. Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupting below,.
Where the striped and starred flag is borne at the head of the regiments,. Approaching Manhattan, up by the long-stretching island,. Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance,. Upon a door-step, upon the horse-block of hard wood outside,. Upon the race-course, or enjoying pic-nics or jigs, or a good game of base-ball,.
At he-festivals, with blackguard jibes, ironical li- cense, bull-dances, drinking, laughter,. At the cider-mill, tasting the sweet of the brown sqush, sucking the juice through a straw,. At apple-peelings, wanting kisses for all the red fruit I find,. At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings, house-raisings;.
Where the mocking-bird sounds his delicious gur- gles, cackles, screams, weeps,. Where the hay-rick stands in the barn-yard, where the dry-stalks are scattered, where the brood cow waits in the hovel,. Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen,. Where heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks,. Where sun-down shadows lengthen over the limit- less and lonesome prairie,.
Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square miles far and near,. Where the humming-bird shimmers, where the neck of the long-lived swan is curving and winding,. Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human laugh,. Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden, half-hid by the high weeds,. Where band-necked partridges roost in a ring on the ground with their heads out,.
Where burial coaches enter the arched gates of a cemetery,. Where winter wolves bark amid wastes of snow and icicled trees,. Where the yellow-crowned heron comes to the edge of the marsh at night and feeds upon small crabs,. Where the splash of swimmers and divers cool the warm noon,. Where the katy-did works her chromatic reed on the walnut-tree over the well,. Through patches of citrons and cucumbers with silver-wired leaves,. Through the salt-lick or orange glade, under coni- cal firs,. Through the gymnasium, through the curtained saloon, through the office or public hall,.
Pleased with the native, pleased with the foreign, pleased with the new and old,. Pleased with women, the homely as well as the handsome,. Pleased with the quakeress as she puts off her bonnet and talks melodiously,. Pleased with the tunes of the choir of the white- washed church,. Pleased with the earnest words of the sweating Methodist preacher, or any preacher—look- ing seriously at the camp-meeting,.
Looking in at the shop-windows in Broadway the whole forenoon, pressing the flesh of my nose to the thick plate-glass,. Wandering the same afternoon with my face turned up to the clouds,. My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I in the middle;. Coming home with the bearded and dark-cheeked bush-boy, riding behind him at the drape of the day,. Far from the settlements, studying the print of animals' feet, or the moccasin print,.
By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish patient,. By the coffined corpse when all is still examin- ing with a candle,. Voyaging to every port to dicker and adven- ture,. Hurrying with the modern crowd, as eager and fickle as any,. Hot toward one I hate ready in my madness to knife him,. Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me a long while,. Walking the old hills of Judea, with the beautiful gentle god by my side,. Speeding through space, speeding through heaven and the stars,. Speeding amid the seven satellites, and the broad ring, and the diameter of eighty thousand miles,.
Speeding with tailed meteors, throwing fire-balls like the rest,. Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in its belly,. I visit the orchards of spheres and look at the product,. And look at quintillions ripened, and look at quin- tillions green.
My messengers continually cruise away, or bring their returns to me. I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a pike-pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue. I ascend to the fore-truck, I take my place late at night in the crow's-nest, we sail through the arctic sea, it is plenty light enough,.
Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty,. The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery is plain in all direc- tions,. The white-topped mountains show in the dis- tance, I fling out my fancies toward them,. We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon to be engaged,.
We pass the colossal out-posts of the encamp- ments, we pass with still feet and caution,. Or we are entering by the suburbs some vast and ruined city, the blocks and fallen archi- tecture more than all the living cities of the globe. I am a free companion, I bivouac by invading watchfires. I turn the bridegroom out of bed and stay with the bride myself,. My voice is the wife's voice, the screech by the rail of the stairs,.
They fetch my man's body up, dripping and drowned. How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and death chasing it up and down the storm,. How he knuckled tight, and gave not back one inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,. And chalked in large letters, Be of good cheer, We will not desert you,. How the lank loose-gowned women looked when boated from the side of their prepared graves,.
How the silent old-faced infants, and the lifted sick, and the sharp-lipped unshaved men,. All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,. The mother, condemned for a witch, burnt with dry wood, her children gazing on,. The hounded slave that flags in the race, leans by the fence, blowing, covered with sweat,. The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the murderous buck-shot and the bullets,.
I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs,. Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the marksmen,. I clutch the rails of the fence, my gore dribs, thinned with the ooze of my skin,. Taunt my dizzy ears, beat me violently over the head with whip-stocks. I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person,. My hurt turns livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.
I am the mashed fireman with breastbone broken, tumbling walls buried me in their debris,. Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades,. I heard the distant click of their picks and shov- els,. They have cleared the beams away, they tenderly life me forth. I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for my sake. Painless after all I lie, exhausted but not so un- happy,.
White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are bared of their fire-caps,. The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches. They show as the dial or move as the hands of me—I am the clock myself. I am an old artillerist, I tell of my fort's bombard- ment, I am there again.
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Again the reveille of drummers, again the attack- ing cannon, mortars, howitzers,. The cries, curses, roar, the plaudits for well-aimed shots,. The ambulanza slowly passing, trailing its red drip,. Workmen searching after damages, making indis- pensable repairs,. The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan-shaped explosion,. The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously waves with his hand,.
He gasps through the clot, Mind not me—mind — the entrenchments. I tell not the fall of Alamo, not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo,. Hear of the murder in cold-blood of four hundred and twelve young men. Retreating, they had formed in a hollow square, with their baggage for breast-works,. Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemy's, nine times their number, was the price they took in advance,.
Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone,. They treated for an honorable capitulation, re- ceived writing and seal, gave up their arms, marched back prisoners of war. Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, court- ship,. Large, turbulent, brave, handsome, generous, proud, affectionate,. Bearded, sunburnt, dressed in the free costume of hunters,. The second Sunday morning they were brought out in squads and massacred—it was beauti- ful early summer,. The work commenced about five o'clock and was over by eight. Some made a mad and helpless rush, some stood stark and straight,.
A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart, the living and dead lay together,. The maimed and mangled dug in the dirt, the new-comers saw them there,. These were dispatched with bayonets, or battered with the blunts of muskets,. A youth not seventeen years old seized his assas- sin, till two more came to release him,.
The three were all torn, and covered with the boy's blood. That is the tale of the murder of the four hun- dred and twelve young men,. Did you read in the sea-books of the old-fashioned frigate-fight? Did you learn who won by the light of the moon and stars?
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His was the English pluck, and there is no tougher or truer, and never was, and never will be,. Along the lowered eve he came, horribly raking us. We closed with him, the yards entangled, the can- non touched,. We had received some eighteen-pound shots un- der the water,. On our lower-gun-deck two large pieces had burst at the first fire, killing all around and blowing up overhead.
Ten o'clock at night and the full moon shining, and the leaks on the gain, and five feet of water reported,. The master-at-arms loosing the prisoners confined in the after-hold, to give them a chance for themselves. The transit to and from the magazine was now stopped by the sentinels,. They saw so many strange faces that they did not know whom to trust. Our frigate was afire, the other asked if we de- manded quarter? I laughed content when I heard the voice of my little captain,. We have not struck, he composedly cried, We have just begun our part of the fighting.
One was directed by the captain himself against the enemy's main-mast,. Two, well served with grape and canister, silenced his musketry and cleared his decks. The tops alone seconded the fire of this little bat- tery, especially the main-top,. They all held out bravely during the whole of the action. The leaks gained fast on the pumps, the fire eat toward the powder-magazine,. One of the pumps was shot away, it was generally thought we were sinking. He was not hurried, his voice was neither high nor low,.
His eyes gave more light to us than our battle- lanterns. Toward twelve at night, there in the beams of the moon they surrendered to us. Two great hulls motionless on the breast of the darkness,. Our vessel riddled and slowly sinking, prepara- tions to pass to the one we had conquered,. The captain on the quarter-deck coldly giving his orders through a countenance white as a sheet,. Near by, the corpse of the child that served in the cabin,.
The dead face of an old salt with long white hair and carefully curled whiskers,. The flames, spite of all that could be done, flicker- ing aloft and below,. The husky voices of the two or three officers yet fit for duty,. Formless stacks of bodies, bodies by them- selves, dabs of flesh upon the masts and spars,. Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the soothe of waves,. Black and impassive guns, litter of powder-parcels, strong scent,. Delicate sniffs of sea-breeze, smells of sedgy grass and fields by the shore, death-messages given in change to survivors,.
The hiss of the surgeon's knife, the gnawing teeth of his saw,. Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, long dull tapering groan,. What the rebel said, gaily adjusting his throat to the rope-noose,. What the savage at the stump, his eye-sockets empty, his mouth spirting whoops and defi- ance,. What stills the traveler come to the vault at Mount Vernon,. What sobers the Brooklyn boy as he looks down the shores of the Wallabout and remembers the prison ships,.
What burnt the gums of the red-coat at Saratoga when he surrendered his brigades,. These become mine and me every one, and they are but little,. And see myself in prison shaped like another man,. For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their carbines and keep watch,. Not a mutineer walks hand-cuffed to the jail, but I am hand-cuffed to him and walk by his side,. I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one, with sweat on my twitching lips.
Not a youngster is taken for larceny, but I go up too, and am tried and sentenced. Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp, but I also lie at the last gasp,. My face is ash-colored, my sinews gnarl, away from me people retreat. Askers embody themselves in me, and I am em- bodied in them,. I rise extatic through all, sweep with the true gravitation,. The whirling and whirling is elemental within me. Give me a little time beyond my cuffed head, slumbers, dreams, gaping,.
That I could forget the trickling tears, and the blows of the bludgeons and hammers! That I could look with a separate look on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning! The grave of rock multiplies what has been con- fided to it, or to any graves,. The corpses rise, the gashes heal, the fastenings roll away. I troop forth replenished with supreme power, one of an average unending procession,. Inland and by the sea-coast and boundary lines, and we pass all boundary lines. Our swift ordinances are on their way over the whole earth,. The blossoms we wear in our hats are the growth of two thousand years.
I see the approach of your numberless gangs, I see you understand yourselves and me,. And know that they who have eyes are divine, and the blind and lame are equally divine,. And that my steps drag behind yours, yet go be- fore them,. And are aware how I am with you no more than I am with everybody. Is he waiting for civilization, or past it and mas- tering it?
Is he some south-westerner, raised out-doors?
Is he Canadian? Is he from the Mississippi country? Wherever he goes men and women accept and desire him;. They desire he should like them, touch them speak to them, stay with them. Behaviour lawless as snow-flakes, words simple as grass, uncombed head, laughter, naivete,. Slow-stepping feet, common features, common modes and emanations,. They descend in new forms from the tips of his fingers,. They are wafted with the odor of his body or breath, they fly out of the glance of his eyes. Flaunt of the sun-shine, I need not your bask, lie over! You light surfaces only, I force surfaces and depths also.
Man or woman! I might tell how I like you, but cannot,. And might tell what it is in me, and what it is in you, but cannot,. And might tell the pinings I have, the pulse of my nights and days. You there, impotent, loose in the knees, open your scarfed chops till I blow grit within you,.
Spread your palms, and lift the flaps of your pockets,. I am not to be denied, I compel, I have stores plenty and to spare,. I do not ask who you are, that is not important to me,. You can do nothing, and be nothing, but what I will infold you. To a drudge of the cotton-fields or cleaner of privies I lean—on his right cheek I put the family kiss,. On women fit for conception I start bigger and nimbler babes,. This day I am jetting the stuff of far more arro- gant republics. To any one dying, thither I speed and twist the knob of the door,.
I seize the descending man, I raise him with re- sistless will. I dilate you with tremendous breath, I buoy you up,. Every room of the house do I fill with an armed force, lovers of me, bafflers of graves,. Not doubt, not decease shall dare to lay finger upon you,. I have embraced you, and henceforth possess you to myself,. And when you rise in the morning you will find what I tell you is so. I am he bringing help for the sick as they pant on their backs,. And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed help. It is middling well as far as it goes, but is that all? The most they offer for mankind and eternity less than a spirt of my own seminal wet,.
Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah — lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, Hercules his grandson—buying drafts of Osiris, Isis, Belus, Brahma, Buddha—in my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved—with Odin, and the hideous-faced Mexitli, and every idol and image,. Taking them all for what they are worth, and not a cent more,. Admitting they were alive and did the work of their day,.
Admitting they bore mites, as for unfledged birds, who have now to rise and fly and sing for themselves,. Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out bet- ter in myself—bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see,. Discovering as much, or more, in a framer framing a house,. Putting higher claims for him there with his rolled-up sleeves, driving the mallet and chisel,.
Not objecting to special revelations, considering a curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my hand just as curious as any revelation,. Those ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars,. A child said What is the grass? How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers' laps,. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,. And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths 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 offspring taken soon out of their laps. And what do you think has become of the women and chil- dren?
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,. I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it. I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe, and am not contain'd between my hat and boots,. I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,.
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,. For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,. And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away. I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand.
The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,. I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen. The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,. The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,. The flap of the curtain'd litter, a sick man inside borne to the hospital,. The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,.
What groans of over-fed or half-starv'd who fall sunstruck or in fits,. What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes,. What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrain'd by decorum,. Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,. I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I come and I depart. Falling asleep on the gather'd leaves with my dog and gun by my side.
The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud,.
My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck. I tuck'd my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;. I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west, the bride was a red girl,. Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking, they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,. On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held his bride by the hand,.
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach'd to her feet. Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,. And brought water and fill'd a tub for his sweated body and bruis'd feet,. And gave him a room that enter'd from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes,. And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,. And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;. He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass'd north,.
I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean'd in the corner. Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,. The beards of the young men glisten'd with wet, it ran from their long hair,. The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,. They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bend- ing arch,. The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife at the stall in the market,. Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire.
The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,. Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,. The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags underneath on its tied-over chain,. The negro that drives the long dray of the stone-yard, steady and tall he stands pois'd on one leg on the string-piece,.
His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,. His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,. The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of his polish'd and perfect limbs. I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop there,. In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,. To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object miss- ing,.
Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes? My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long ramble,. And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else,. And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet trills pretty well to me,. Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,.
The sharp-hoof'd moose of the north, the cat on the house-sill, the chickadee, the prairie-dog,. Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses,. The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,. The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanks- giving dinner,. The mate stands braced in the whale-boat, lance and harpoon are ready,. The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel,. The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye,.
He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his mother's bed-room;. He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the manu- script;. The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove,. The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass,.
The young fellow drives the express-wagon, I love him, though I do not know him;. The western turkey-shooting draws old and young, some lean on their rifles, some sit on logs,. Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position, levels his piece;. As the woolly-pates hoe in the sugar-field, the overseer views them from his saddle,.
The bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their part- ners, the dancers bow to each other,. The youth lies awake in the cedar-roof'd garret and harks to the musical rain,. The squaw wrapt in her yellow-hemm'd cloth is offering moccasins and bead-bags for sale,. The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent sideways,.
As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat the plank is thrown for the shore-going passengers,. The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the knots,. The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child,. The clean-hair'd Yankee girl works with her sewing-machine or in the factory or mill,. The paving-man leans on his two-handed rammer, the reporter's lead flies swiftly over the note-book, the sign-painter is lettering with blue and gold,.
The canal boy trots on the tow-path, the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,. The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers follow him,. The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions,. The regatta is spread on the bay, the race is begun, how the white sails sparkle! The drover watching his drove sings out to them that would stray,. The pedler sweats with his pack on his back, the purchaser hig- gling about the odd cent;. The bride unrumples her white dress, the minute-hand of the clock moves slowly,.
The prostitute draggles her shawl, her bonnet bobs on her tipsy and pimpled neck,. The crowd laugh at her blackguard oaths, the men jeer and wink to each other,. The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great Secretaries,. On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms,. The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,. The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle,. As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the jingling of loose change,.
The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar,. Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is gather'd, it is the fourth of Seventh-month, what salutes of cannon and small arms! Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the mower mows, and the winter-grain falls in the ground;.
For those who dont quite geddit
Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in the frozen surface,. The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter strikes deep with his axe,. Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton-wood or pecan-trees,. Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through those drain'd by the Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas,. Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw,. Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grand- sons around them,. In walls of adobie, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers after their day's sport,.
The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;. Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff that is fine,. One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same,. A Southerner soon as a Northerner, a planter nonchalant and hospitable down by the Oconee I live,.
A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth,. A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer-skin leggings, a Louisianian or Georgian,. A boatman over lakes or bays or along coasts, a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;. At home on Kanadian snow-shoes or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland,. At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tack- ing,.
At home on the hills of Vermont or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch,. Comrade of Californians, comrade of free North-Westerners, lov- ing their big proportions,. Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen, comrade of all who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat,. The bright suns I see and the dark suns I cannot see are in their place,. These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,.
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,. If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,. If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing. This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,. I play not marches for accepted victors only, I play marches for conquer'd and slain persons.
I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes! And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known! It is for the wicked just the same as the righteous, I make appoint- ments with all,. This is the press of a bashful hand, this the float and odor of hair,. Well I have, for the Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has. Does the daylight astonish? Whimpering and truckling fold with powders for invalids, con- formity goes to the fourth-remov'd,.
Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair, counsel'd with doctors and calculated close,. In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,. I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter's compass,. I know I shall not pass like a child's carlacue cut with a burnt stick at night. I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by, after all. One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is my- self,. And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten million years,. I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait.
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,. The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue. It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there every one, and still pass on. Press close bare-bosom'd night—press close magnetic nourishing night! Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Prodigal, you have given me love—therefore I to you give love! We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land,. Sea of the brine of life and of unshovell'd yet always-ready graves,. Partaker of influx and efflux I, extoller of hate and conciliation,. Shall I make my list of things in the house and skip the house that supports them? I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also.
Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand indifferent,. Did you guess the celestial laws are yet to be work'd over and rectified? What behaved well in the past or behaves well to-day is not such a wonder,. The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel. Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time abso- lutely. This is the lexicographer, this the chemist, this made a grammar of the old cartouches,. This is the geologist, this works with the scalpel, and this is a mathematician.
And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom and extrication,. And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor men and women fully equipt,. And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and them that plot and conspire. No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them,. Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the cur- rent and index. By God!
I will accept nothing which all cannot have their coun- terpart of on the same terms. And of the threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff,. I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,. Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch'd from,. If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it,. Root of wash'd sweet-flag! Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you!
Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you! Hands I have taken, face I have kiss'd, mortal I have ever touch'd, it shall be you. They say the strongest shade of red comes from a bleeding heart; out of the pain of a love that's been torn apart. For me, that was you. I mean at some point i guess everyone plays the fool.
No need to cover it up, I've shed my fair share of tears too. Manipulated and used, you played my heart out like a piano, until it finally bent out of tune. Now the sounds of my memories are lacking in clarity, lost in the deep end of this pool of disparity, sometimes i feel so close to you until i realize that you're actually way ahead of me. On this one way street i see you fade into the future, while i'm barely able to move; all i do anymore is listen to old record tapes that remind me of you, warm music that was once meant to sooth, now just feels like more salt on these wounds.