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Books by Whitman



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16.

SEA-WATER, and all living below it,
Forests at the bottom of the sea—the branches and
leaves,
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds—
the thick tangle, the openings, and the pink turf,
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white,
and gold—the play of light through the water,
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks—coral,
gluten, grass, rushes—and the aliment of the
swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there, suspended, or
slowly crawling close to the bottom,
The sperm-whale at the surface, blowing air and
spray, or disporting with his flukes,
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the
hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray;
Passions there—wars, pursuits, tribes—sight in
those ocean-depths—breathing that thick-breath-
ing air, as so many do,
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle
air breathed by beings like us, who walk this
sphere;
The change onward from ours to that of beings who
walk other spheres.


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