Leaves of Grass (1881-82)

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OF these years I sing,
How they pass and have pass'd through convuls'd pains, as through
How America illustrates birth, muscular youth, the promise, the
         sure fulfilment, the absolute success, despite of people—
         illustrates evil as well as good,
The vehement struggle so fierce for unity in one's-self;
How many hold despairingly yet to the models departed, caste,
         myths, obedience, compulsion, and to infidelity,
How few see the arrived models, the athletes, the Western States,
         or see freedom or spirituality, or hold any faith in results,
(But I see the athletes, and I see the results of the war glorious
         and inevitable, and they again leading to other results.)

How the great cities appear—how the Democratic masses, turbu-
         lent, wilful, as I love them,
How the whirl, the contest, the wrestle of evil with good, the
         sounding and resounding, keep on and on,
How society waits unform'd, and is for a while between things
         ended and things begun,
How America is the continent of glories, and of the triumph of
         freedom and of the Democracies, and of the fruits of so-
         ciety, and of all that is begun,
And how the States are complete in themselves—and how all
         triumphs and glories are complete in themselves, to lead
And how these of mine and of the States will in their turn be con-
         vuls'd, and serve other parturitions and transitions,
And how all people, sights, combinations, the democratic masses
         too, serve—and how every fact, and war itself, with all its
         horrors, serves,
And how now or at any time each serves the exquisite transition
         of death.

Of seeds dropping into the ground, of births,
Of the steady concentration of America, inland, upward, to im-
         pregnable and swarming places,
Of what Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, and the rest, are to be,
Of what a few years will show there in Nebraska, Colorado,
         Nevada, and the rest,
(Or afar, mounting the Northern Pacific to Sitka or Aliaska,)

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Of what the feuillage of America is the preparation for—and of
         what all sights, North, South, East and West, are,
Of this Union welded in blood, of the solemn price paid, of the
         unnamed lost ever present in my mind;
Of the temporary use of materials for identity's sake,
Of the present, passing, departing—of the growth of completer
         men than any yet,
Of all sloping down there where the fresh free giver the mother,
         the Mississippi flows,
Of mighty inland cities yet unsurvey'd and unsuspected,
Of the new and good names, of the modern developments, of
         inalienable homesteads,
Of a free and original life there, of simple diet and clean and
         sweet blood,
Of litheness, majestic faces, clear eyes, and perfect physique there,
Of immense spiritual results future years far West, each side of the
Of these songs, well understood there, (being made for that area,)
Of the native scorn of grossness and gain there,
(O it lurks in me night and day—what is gain after all to savage-
         ness and freedom?)
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