Leaves of Grass (1881-82)

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OF the terrible doubt of appearances,
Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded,
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only,
May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills,
         shining and flowing waters,
The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, may-be these
         are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and the real
         something has yet to be known,
(How often they dart out of themselves as if to confound me and
         mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows, aught of
May-be seeming to me what they are (as doubtless they indeed
         but seem) as from my present point of view, and might
         prove (as of course they would) nought of what they
         appear, or nought anyhow, from entirely changed points
         of view;
To me these and the like of these are curiously answer'd by my
         lovers, my dear friends,
When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while holding
         me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and
         reason hold not, surround us and pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am
         silent, I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of identity
         beyond the grave,
But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.
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