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LEAVES OF GRASS.


1

1 O ME, man of slack faith so long!
Standing aloof—denying portions so long;
Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth;
Discovering to-day there is no lie, or form of lie, and
can be none, but grows as inevitably upon it-
self as the truth does upon itself,
Or as any law of the earth, or any natural production
of the earth does.

2(This is curious, and may not be realized immedi-
ately—But it must be realized;
I feel in myself that I represent falsehoods equally
with the rest,
And that the universe does.)

3Where has fail'd a perfect return, indifferent of lies
or the truth?
Is it upon the ground, or in water or fire? or in the
spirit of man? or in the meat and blood?

4Meditating among liars, and retreating sternly into
myself, I see that there are really no liars or
lies after all,
And that nothing fails its perfect return—And that
what are called lies are perfect returns,
And that each thing exactly represents itself, and
what has preceded it,
And that the truth includes all, and is compact, just
as much as space is compact,


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And that there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of
the truth—but that all is truth without ex-
ception;
And henceforth I will go celebrate anything I see
or am,
And sing and laugh, and deny nothing.


2.

FORMS, qualities, lives, humanity, language, thoughts,
The ones known, and the ones unknown—the ones on
the stars,
The stars themselves, some shaped, others unshaped,
Wonders as of those countries—the soil, trees, cities,
inhabitants, whatever they may be,
Splendid suns, the moons and rings, the countless
combinations and effects;
Such-like, and as good as such-like, visible here or
anywhere, stand provided for in a handful of
space, which I extend my arm and half enclose
with my hand;
That contains the start of each and all—the virtue,
the germs of all.


3.

1NOW I make a leaf of Voices—for I have found
nothing mightier than they are,
And I have found that no word spoken, but is beauti-
ful, in its place.

2O what is it in me that makes me tremble so at
voices?
Surely, whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him
or her I shall follow,


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As the water follows the moon, silently, with fluid
steps any where around the globe.

3All waits for the right voices;
Where is the practis'd and perfect organ? Where is
the develop'd Soul?
For I see every word utter'd thence has deeper,
sweeter, new sounds, impossible on less terms.

4I see brains and lips closed—tympans and temples
unstruck,
Until that comes which has the quality to strike and
to unclose,
Until that comes which has the quality to bring forth
what lies slumbering, forever ready, in all
words.


4.

1 WHAT am I, after all, but a child, pleased with the
sound of my own name? repeating it over and
over;
I stand apart to hear—it never tires me.

2To you, your name also,
Did you think there was nothing but two or three pro-
nunciations in the sound of your name?


5

LOCATIONS and times—what is it in me that meets them
all, whenever and wherever, and makes me at
home?
Forms, colors, densities, odors—what is it in me that
corresponds with them?

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