Published Works

Books by Whitman



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




CHILDREN OF ADAM.


TO THE GARDEN, THE WORLD.

TO THE garden, the world, anew ascending,
Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding,
The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being,
Curious, here behold my resurrection, after slumber;
The revolving cycles, in their wide sweep, having brought
me again,
Amorous, mature—all beautiful to me—all wondrous;
My limbs, and the quivering fire that ever plays through
them, for reasons, most wondrous;
Existing, I peer and penetrate still,
Content with the present—content with the past,
By my side, or back of me, Eve following,
Or in front, and I following her just the same.


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;
From my own voice resonant—singing the phallus,
Singing the song of procreation,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 98] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Singing the need of superb children, and therein superb
grown people,
Singing the muscular urge and the blending,
Singing the bedfellow's song, (O resistless yearning!
O for any and each, the body correlative attracting!
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;
Singing something yet unfound, though I have dili-
gently sought it, many a long year;
Singing the true song of the Soul, fitful, at random;
Singing what, to the Soul, entirely redeem'd her, the
faithful one, even the prostitute, who detain'd
me when I went to the city;
Singing the song of prostitutes;
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 anticipat-
ing;
The welcome nearness—the sight of the perfect body;
The swimmer swimming naked in the bath, or motion-
less 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, mak-
ing;
The face—the limbs—the index from head to foot, and
what it 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,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 99] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



O I wish that you and I escape from the rest, and go
utterly off—O 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 passion-
ately 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;
(O 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 permission taking;
From time the programme hastening, (I have loiter'd
too long, as it is;)
From sex—From the warp and from the woof;
(To talk to the perfect girl who understands me,
To waft to her these from my own lips—to effuse them
from my own body;)
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 bedfel-
low'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 coverlid off-throwing,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 100] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



From the one so unwilling to have me leave—and me
just as unwilling 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.

1

1I SING the Body electric;
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth
them;
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to
them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the
charge of the Soul.

2Was 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 as much as the Soul?
And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?


2

3The love of the Body of man or woman balks ac-
count—the body itself balks account;
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is
perfect.

4The expression of the face balks account;


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 101] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



But the expression of a well-made man appears not
only in his face;
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, supple quality he has, strikes through
the cotton and flannel;
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 shoulder-side.

5The 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 garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hoeing corn—the sleigh-driver guiding
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 blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play
of masculine muscle through clean-setting trow-
sers and waist-straps,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 102] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



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 curv'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 with the firemen, and pause, listen, and
count.


3

6I knew a man, a common farmer—the father of five
sons;
And in them were the fathers of sons—and in them
were the fathers of sons.

7This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of
person;
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his
hair and beard, and the immeasurable meaning of
his black eyes—the richness and breadth of his
manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see—he was wise
also;
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old—his
sons were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced,
handsome;
They and his daughters loved him—all who saw him
loved him;
They did not love him by allowance—they loved him
with personal love!
He drank water only—the blood show'd like scarlet
through the clear-brown skin of his face;
He was a frequent gunner and fisher—he sail'd his boat
himself—he had a fine one presented to him by
a ship-joiner—he had fowling-pieces, presented to
him by men that loved him;
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons
to hunt or fish, you would pick him out as the
most beautiful and vigorous of the gang,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 103] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



You would wish long and long to be with him—you
would wish to sit by him in the boat, that you
and he might touch each other.


4

8I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing,
laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm
ever so lightly round his or her neck for a mo-
ment—what is this, then?
I do not ask any more delight—I swim in it, as in a sea.

9There is something in staying close to men and women,
and looking on them, and in the contact and
odor of them, that pleases the soul well;
All things please the soul—but these please the soul
well.


5

10This is the female form;
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot;
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction!
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a
helpless vapor—all falls aside but myself and it;
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth,
the atmosphere and the clouds, and what was
expected of heaven or fear'd of hell, are now
consumed;
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it—the
response likewise ungovernable;
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands,
all diffused—mine too diffused;
Ebb stung by the flow, and flow stung by the ebb—
love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching;
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quiver-
ing jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice;
Bridegroom night of love, working surely and softly
into the prostrate dawn;


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 104] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh'd day.

11This is the nucleus—after the child is born of woman,
the man is born of woman;
This is the bath of birth—this is the merge of small
and large, and the outlet again.

12Be not ashamed, women—your privilege encloses the
rest, and is the exit of the rest;
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of
the soul.

13The female contains all qualities, and tempers them
—she is in her place, and moves with perfect
balance;
She is all things duly veil'd—she is both passive and
active;
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons
as well as daughters.

14As I see my soul reflected in nature;
As I see through a mist, one with inexpressible com-
pleteness and beauty,
See the bent head, and arms folded over the breast—
the female I see.


6

15The male is not less the soul, nor more—he too is in
his place;
He too is all qualities—he is action and power;
The flush of the known universe is in him;
Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance be-
come him well:
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sor-
row that is utmost, become him well—pride is
for him;
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent
to the soul;
Knowledge becomes him—he likes it always—he brings
everything to the test of himself;


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 105] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail, he
strikes soundings at last only here;
(Where else does he strike soundings, except here?)

16The man's body is sacred, and the woman's body is
sacred;
No matter who it is, it is sacred;
Is it a slave? Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants
just landed on the wharf?
Each belongs here or anywhere, just as much as the
well off—just as much as you;
Each has his or her place in the procession.

17(All is a procession;
The universe is a procession, with measured and beau-
tiful motion.)

18Do you know so much yourself, that you call the slave
or the dull-face ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and
he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its dif-
fuse float—and the soil is on the surface, and
water runs, and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?


7

19A man's Body at auction;
I help the auctioneer—the sloven does not half know
his business.

20Gentlemen, look on this wonder!
Whatever the bids of the bidders, they cannot be high
enough for it;
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years,
without one animal or plant;
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll'd.

21In this head the all-baffling brain;
In it and below it, the makings of heroes.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 106] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



22Examine these limbs, red, black, or white—they are
so cunning in tendon and nerve;
They shall be stript, that you may see them.

23Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,
Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant back-bone and neck, flesh
not flabby, good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.

24Within there runs blood,
The same old blood!
The same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart—there all passions, de-
sires, reachings, aspirations;
Do you think they are not there because they are not
express'd in parlors and lecture-rooms?

25This is not only one man—this is the father of those
who shall be fathers in their turns;
In him the start of populous states and rich republics;
Of him countless immortal lives, with countless embod-
iments and enjoyments.

26How do you know who shall come from the offspring
of his offspring through the centuries?
Who might you find you have come from yourself, if
you could trace back through the centuries?


8

27A woman's Body at auction!
She too is not only herself—she is the teeming mother
of mothers;
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates
to the mothers.

28Have you ever loved the Body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the Body of a man?
Your father—where is your father?
Your mother—is she living? have you been much with
her? and has she been much with you?


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 107] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



—Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all,
in all nations and times, all over the earth?

29If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of man-
hood untainted;
And in man or woman, a clean, strong, firm-fibred body,
is beautiful as the most beautiful face.

30Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live
body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal
themselves.


9

31O my Body! I dare not desert the likes of you in
other men and women, nor the likes of the parts
of you;
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the
likes of the Soul, (and that they are the Soul;)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my
poems—and that they are poems,
Man's, woman's, child's, youth's, wife's, husband's,
mother's, father's, young man's, young woman's
poems;
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eye-brows, and the
waking or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and
the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the
neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders,
and the ample side-round of the chest.
Upper-arm, arm-pit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-
sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb,
fore-finger, finger-balls, finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-
bone, breast-side,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 108] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Ribs, belly, back-bone, joints of the back-bone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward
round, man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of
my or your body, or of any one's body, male or
female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet
and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, ma-
ternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman—and the man
that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laugh-
ter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and
risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting
aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking,
swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-
curving, and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and
around the eyes,
The skin, the sun burnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels, when feeling with the
hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers, the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and
thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you, or within me—the bones,
and the marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say, these are not the parts and poems of the Body
only, but of the Soul,
O I say now these are the Soul!




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 109] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




A WOMAN WAITS FOR ME.

1A WOMAN waits for me—she contains all, nothing is
lacking,
Yet all were lacking, if sex were lacking, or if the mois-
ture of the right man were lacking.

2Sex contains all,
Bodies, Souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, re-
sults, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery,
the seminal milk;
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals,
All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the earth,
All the governments, judges, gods, follow'd persons of
the earth,
These are contain'd in sex, as parts of itself, and justi-
fications of itself.

3Without shame the man I like knows and avows the
deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

4Now I will dismiss myself from impassive women,
I will go stay with her who waits for me, and with those
women that are warm-blooded and sufficient for
me;
I see that they understand me, and do not deny me;
I see that they are worthy of me—I will be the robust
husband of those women.

5They are not one jot less than I am,
They are tann'd in the face by shining suns and blow-
ing winds,
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,
They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run,
strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend them-
selves,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 110] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



They are ultimate in their own right—they are calm,
clear, well-possess'd of themselves.

6I draw you close to me, you women!
I cannot let you go, I would do you good,
I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our own
sake, but for others' sakes;
Envelop'd in you sleep greater heroes and bards,
They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me.

7It is I, you women—I make my way,
I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable—but I love you,
I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for you,
I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for
These States—I press with slow rude muscle,
I brace myself effectually—I listen to no entreaties,
I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long
accumulated within me.

8Through you I drain the pent-up rivers of myself,
In you I wrap a thousand onward years,
On you I graft the grafts of the best-beloved of me and
America,
The drops I distil upon you shall grow fierce and ath-
letic girls, new artists, musicians, and singers,
The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in their
turn,
I shall demand perfect men and women out of my love-
spendings,
I shall expect them to interpenetrate with others as I
and you interpenetrate now,
I shall count on the fruits of the gushing showers of
them, as I count on the fruits of the gushing
showers I give now,
I shall look for loving crops from the birth, life, death,
immortality, I plant so lovingly now.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 111] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




SPONTANEOUS ME.

SPONTANEOUS me, Nature,
The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am
happy with,
The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder,
The hill-side whiten'd with blossoms of the mountain
ash,
The same, late in autumn—the hues of red, yellow,
drab, purple, and light and dark green,
The rich coverlid of the grass—animals and birds—
the private untrimm'd bank—the primitive ap-
ples—the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments—the negligent list of one
after another, as I happen to call them to me, or
think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely pic-
tures,)
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men like
me,
This poem, drooping shy and unseen, that I always
carry, and that all men carry,
(Know, once for all, avow'd on purpose, wherever are
men like me, are our lusty, lurking, masculine
poems;)
Love-thoughts, love-juice, love-odor, love-yielding, love-
climbers, and the climbing sap,
Arms and hands of love—lips of love—phallic thumb
of love—breasts of love—bellies press'd and
glued together with love,
Earth of chaste love—life that is only life after love,
The body of my love—the body of the woman I love—
the body of the man—the body of the earth,
Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west,
The hairy wild-bee that murmurs and hankers up and
down—that gripes the full-grown lady-flower,
curves upon her with amorous firm legs, takes
his will of her, and holds himself tremulous and
tight till he is satisfied,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 112] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



The wet of woods through the early hours,
Two sleepers at night lying close together as they sleep,
one with an arm slanting down across and below
the waist of the other,
The smell of apples, aromas from crush'd sage-plant,
mint, birch-bark,
The boy's longings, the glow and pressure as he con-
fides to me what he was dreaming,
The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl, and falling still
and content to the ground,
The no-form'd stings that sights, people, objects, sting
me with,
The hubb'd sting of myself, stinging me as much as it
ever can any one,
The sensitive, orbic, underlapp'd brothers, that only
privileged feelers may be intimate where they
are,
The curious roamer, the hand, roaming all over the
body—the bashful withdrawing of flesh where
the fingers soothingly pause and edge them-
selves,
The limpid liquid within the young man,
The vexed corrosion, so pensive and so painful,
The torment—the irritable tide that will not be at rest,
The like of the same I feel—the like of the same in
others,
The young man that flushes and flushes, and the young
woman that flushes and flushes,
The young man that wakes, deep at night, the hot
hand seeking to repress what would master
him;
The mystic amorous night—the strange half-welcome
pangs, visions, sweats,
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling en-
circling fingers—the young man all color'd, red,
ashamed, angry;
The souse upon me of my lover the sea, as I lie willing
and naked,
The merriment of the twin-babes that crawl over the
grass in the sun, the mother never turning her
vigilant eyes from them,


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 113] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



The walnut-trunk, the walnut-husks, and the ripening
or ripen'd long-round walnuts;
The continence of vegetables, birds, animals,
The consequent meanness of me should I skulk or find
myself indecent, while birds and animals never
once skulk or find themselves indecent;
The great chastity of paternity, to match the great
chastity of maternity,
The oath of procreation I have sworn—my Adamic and
fresh daughters,
The greed that eats me day and night with hungry
gnaw, till I saturate what shall produce boys to
fill my place when I am through,
The wholesome relief, repose, content;
And this bunch, pluck'd at random from myself;
It has done its work—I toss it carelessly to fall where
it may.


ONE HOUR TO MADNESS AND JOY.

1ONE hour to madness and joy!
O furious! O confine me not!
(What is this that frees me so in storms?
What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds
mean?)

2O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other
man;
O savage and tender achings!
(I bequeath them to you, my children,
I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and bride.)

3O to be yielded to you, whoever you are, and you to
be yielded to me, in defiance of the world!
O to return to Paradise! O bashful and feminine!
O to draw you to me—to plant on you for the first time
the lips of a determin'd man!



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 114] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



4O the puzzle—the thrice-tied knot—the deep and dark
pool! O all untied and illumin'd!
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough
at last!
O to be absolv'd from previous ties and conventions—I
from mine, and you from yours!
O to find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best
of nature?
O to have the gag remov'd from one's mouth!
O to have the feeling, to-day or any day, I am sufficient
as I am!

5O something unprov'd! something in a trance!
O madness amorous! O trembling!
O to escape utterly from others' anchors and holds!
To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dan-
gerous!
To court destruction with taunts—with invitations!
To ascend—to leap to the heavens of the love indicated
to me!
To rise thither with my inebriate Soul!
To be lost, if it must be so!
To feed the remainder of life with one hour of fulness
and freedom!
With one brief hour of madness and joy.


WE TWO—HOW LONG WE WERE FOOL'D.

WE two—how long we were fool'd!
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes;
We are Nature—long have we been absent, but now we
return;
We become plants, leaves, foliage, roots, bark;
We are bedded in the ground—we are rocks;
We are oaks—we grow in the openings side by side;
We browse—we are two among the wild herds, spon-
taneous as any;


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 115] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



We are two fishes swimming in the sea together;
We are what the locust blossoms are—we drop scent
around the lanes, mornings and evenings;
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables,
minerals;
We are two predatory hawks—we soar above, and look
down;
We are two resplendent suns—we it is who balance
ourselves, orbic and stellar—we are as two
comets;
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods—we
spring on prey;
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving
overhead;
We are seas mingling—we are two of those cheerful
waves, rolling over each other, and interwetting
each other;
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive,
pervious, impervious:
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness—we are each product
and influence of the globe;
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home
again—we two have;
We have voided all but freedom, and all but our own
joy.


OUT OF THE ROLLING OCEAN, THE CROWD.

1

OUT of the rolling ocean, the crowd, came a drop gently
to me,
Whispering, I love you, before long I die,
I have travelled a long way, merely to look on you, to touch
you,
For I could not die till I once look'd on you,
For I fear'd I might afterwards lose you.




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 116] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



2

(Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe;
Return in peace to the ocean, my love;
I too am part of that ocean, my love—we are not so
much separated;
Behold the great rondure—the cohesion of all, how per-
fect!
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate
us,
As for an hour, carrying us diverse—yet cannot carry
us diverse for ever;
Be not impatient—a little space—Know you, I salute
the air, the ocean, and the land,
Every day, at sundown, for your dear sake, my love.)



NATIVE MOMENTS.

NATIVE moments! when you come upon me—Ah you
are here now!
Give me now libidinous joys only!
Give me the drench of my passions! Give me life
coarse and rank!
To-day, I go consort with nature's darlings—to-night
too;
I am for those who believe in loose delights—I share
the midnight orgies of young men;
I dance with the dancers, and drink with the drinkers;
The echoes ring with our indecent calls;
I take for my love some prostitute—I pick out some low
person for my dearest friend,
He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate—he shall be one
condemn'd by others for deeds done;
I will play a part no longer—Why should I exile myself
from my companions?
O you shunn'd persons! I at least do not shun you,
I come forthwith in your midst—I will be your poet,
I will be more to you than to any of the rest.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 117] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




ONCE I PASS'D THROUGH A POPULOUS CITY.

ONCE I pass'd through a populous city, imprinting my
brain, for future use, with its shows, architec-
ture, customs, and traditions;
Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I
casually met there, who detained me for love of
me;
Day by day and night by night we were together,—All
else has long been forgotten by me;
I remember, I say, only that woman who passionately
clung to me;
Again we wander—we love—we separate again;
Again she holds me by the hand—I must not go!
I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and tremu-
lous.


FACING WEST FROM CALIFORNIA'S SHORES.

FACING west, from California's shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of
maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western Sea—the circle
almost circled;
For, starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales
of Kashmere,
From. Asia—from the north—from the God, the sage,
and the hero,
From the south—from the flowery peninsulas, and the
spice islands;
Long having wander'd since—round the earth having
wander'd,
Now I face home again—very pleas'd and joyous;
(But where is what I started for, so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 118] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




AGES AND AGES, RETURNING AT INTERVALS.

AGES and ages, returning at intervals,
Undestroy'd, wandering immortal,
Lusty, phallic, with the potent original loins, perfectly
sweet,
I, chanter of Adamic songs,
Through the new garden, the West, the great cities
calling,
Deliriate, thus prelude what is generated, offering these,
offering myself,
Bathing myself, bathing my songs in Sex,
Offspring of my loins.


O HYMEN! O HYMENEE!

O HYMEN! O hymenee!
Why do you tantalize me thus?
O why sting me for a swift moment only?
Why can you not continue? O why do you now cease?
Is it because, if you continued beyond the swift mo-
ment, you would soon certainly kill me?


AS ADAM, EARLY IN THE MORNING.

AS Adam, early in the morning,
Walking forth from the bower, refresh'd with sleep?
Behold me where I pass—hear my voice—approach,
Touch me—touch the palm of your hand to my Body
as I pass;
Be not afraid of my Body.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 119] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




I Heard You, Solemn-sweet Pipes of the Organ.

I HEARD you, solemn-sweet pipes of the organ, as last
Sunday morn I pass'd the church;
Winds of autumn!—as I walk'd the woods at dusk, I
heard your long-stretch'd sighs, up above, so
mournful;
I heard the perfect Italian tenor, singing at the opera
—I heard the soprano in the midst of the quartet
singing;
…Heart of my love!—you too I heard, murmuring
low, through one of the wrists around my head;
Heard the pulse of you, when all was still, ringing little
bells last night under my ear.


I AM HE THAT ACHES WITH LOVE.

I AM he that aches with amorous love;
Does the earth gravitate? Does not all matter, aching,
attract all matter?
So the Body of me, to all I meet, or know.

Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.