Leaves of Grass (1881-82)

contents   |  previous   |  next



The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am happy with,
The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder,
The hillside 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 coverlet of the grass, animals and birds, the private
         untrimm'd bank, the primitive apples, the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments, the negligent list of one after an-
         other as I happen to call them to me or think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely pictures,)
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men like me,

View Page 90
View Page 90

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;
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-
The boy's longings, the glow and pressure as he confides 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 themselves,
The limpid liquid within the young man,
The vex'd 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,
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling encircling
         fingers, the young man all color'd, red, ashamed, angry;

View Page 91
View Page 91

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,
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
The oath of procreation I have sworn, my Adamic and fresh
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.
contents   |  previous   |  next