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Cluster: Children of Adam. (1871)

Table of Contents (1871)

Poems in this cluster



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 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 ]ppp.00270.100.jpg 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  
From native moments—from bashful pains—singing  
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  
Of the smell of apples and lemons—of the pairing of  
Of the wet of woods—of the lapping of waves, Of the mad pushes of waves upon the land—I them  
The overture lightly sounding—the strain anticipat- 
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- 
The face—the limbs—the index from head to foot, and  
 what it arouses;
The mystic deliria—the madness amorous—the utter  
(Hark close, and still, what I now whisper to you, I love you—O you entirely possess me,   [ begin page 99 ]ppp.00270.101.jpg 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  
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  
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 ]ppp.00270.102.jpg 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  
And you, stalwart loins.



1I SING the Body electric; The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth  
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to  
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?


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  
4The expression of the face balks account;   [ begin page 101 ]ppp.00270.103.jpg 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 ]ppp.00270.104.jpg The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell  
 strikes suddenly again, and the listening on the  
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  


6I knew a man, a common farmer—the father of five  
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  
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  
These I used to go and visit him to see—he was wise  
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old—his  
 sons were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced,  
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 ]ppp.00270.105.jpg 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.


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  


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  
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 ]ppp.00270.106.jpg 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  
She is all things duly veil'd—she is both passive and  
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.


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 ]ppp.00270.107.jpg 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  
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?


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 ]ppp.00270.108.jpg 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?


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 ]ppp.00270.109.jpg —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  


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  
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 ]ppp.00270.110.jpg 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  
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- 
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  
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting  
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking,  
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 ]ppp.00270.111.jpg


1A WOMAN waits for me—she contains all, nothing is  
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  
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- 
  [ begin page 110 ]ppp.00270.112.jpg 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  
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  
I shall demand perfect men and women out of my love- 
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 ]ppp.00270.113.jpg


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  
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- 
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men like  
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  
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 ]ppp.00270.114.jpg 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  
The curious roamer, the hand, roaming all over the  
 body—the bashful withdrawing of flesh where  
 the fingers soothingly pause and edge them- 
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  
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  
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 ]ppp.00270.115.jpg 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.


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  
2O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other  
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 ]ppp.00270.116.jpg 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- 
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! Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes; We are Nature—long have we been absent, but now we  
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 ]ppp.00270.117.jpg 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,  
We are two predatory hawks—we soar above, and look  
We are two resplendent suns—we it is who balance  
 ourselves, orbic and stellar—we are as two  
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods—we  
 spring on prey;
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving  
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  



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  
For I could not die till I once look'd on you, For I fear'd I might afterwards lose you.
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(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- 
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate  
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! 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  
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.
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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  
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- 


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  
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?)
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AGES and ages, returning at intervals, Undestroy'd, wandering immortal, Lusty, phallic, with the potent original loins, perfectly  
I, chanter of Adamic songs, Through the new garden, the West, the great cities  
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! 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, 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.
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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  
I heard the perfect Italian tenor, singing at the opera  
 —I heard the soprano in the midst of the quartet  
…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 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.

Table of Contents (1871)

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