Leaves of Grass (1881-82)

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IN a far-away northern county in the placid pastoral region,
Lives my farmer friend, the theme of my recitative, a famous
         tamer of oxen,
There they bring him the three-year-olds and the four-year-olds to
         break them,
He will take the wildest steer in the world and break him and
         tame him,
He will go fearless without any whip where the young bullock
         chafes up and down the yard,
The bullock's head tosses restless high in the air with raging eyes,
Yet see you! how soon his rage subsides—how soon this tamer
         tames him;
See you! on the farms hereabout a hundred oxen young and old,
         and he is the man who has tamed them,
They all know him, all are affectionate to him;
See you! some are such beautiful animals, so lofty looking;
Some are buff-color'd, some mottled, one has a white line running
         along his back, some are brindled,
Some have wide flaring horns (a good sign)—see you! the
         bright hides,
See, the two with stars on their foreheads—see, the round bodies
         and broad backs,
How straight and square they stand on their legs—what fine
         sagacious eyes!
How they watch their tamer—they wish him near them—how
         they turn to look after him!
What yearning expression! how uneasy they are when he moves
         away from them;
Now I marvel what it can be he appears to them, (books, politics,
         poems, depart—all else departs,)
I confess I envy only his fascination—my silent, illiterate friend,
Whom a hundred oxen love there in his life on farms,
In the northern county far, in the placid pastoral region.
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