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Cluster: Children of Adam. (1867)

Table of Contents (1867)

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 96 ]ppp.00473.096.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 day; 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 slave's body for sale,—I, sternly, with harsh  
 voice, auctioneering;
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;
  [ begin page 97 ]ppp.00473.097.jpg 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, 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 to 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 bosom; 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;
  [ begin page 98 ]ppp.00473.098.jpg From exultation, victory, and relief—from the bedfel- 
 low 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, 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.



1 I 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 them,
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?
  [ begin page 99 ]ppp.00473.099.jpg


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; 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 perform- 
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,
  [ begin page 100 ]ppp.00473.100.jpg 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 
 trowsers and waist-straps,
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 count.


6I knew a man, a common farmer—the father of 
 five sons;
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 person;
The shape of his head, the richness and breadth of 
 his manners, the pale yellow and white of his 
 hair and beard, and the immeasurable meaning 
 of his black eyes,
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,  
  [ begin page 101 ]ppp.00473.101.jpg 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,
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 
To stop in company with the rest at evening is 
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 
 moment—what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight—I swim in it, as in a 
9There is something in staying close to men and wo- 
 men, 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; E   [ begin page 102 ]ppp.00473.102.jpg 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,  
 quivering jelly of love, white-blow and deliri- 
 ous juice;
Bridegroom night of love, working surely and softly 
 into the prostrate dawn;
Undulating into the willing and yielding day, Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh'd 
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.
  [ begin page 103 ]ppp.00473.103.jpg 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 
 become 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;
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.
17All is a procession; The universe is a procession, with measured and beau- 
 tiful motion.
  [ begin page 104 ]ppp.00473.104.jpg 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 
 diffuse 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. 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?
  [ begin page 105 ]ppp.00473.105.jpg 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 em- 
 bodiments and enjoyments.
26How do you know who shall come from the off- 
 spring 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?
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 
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot con- 
 ceal themselves.
  [ begin page 106 ]ppp.00473.106.jpg


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-shoul- 
 ders, 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- 
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast- 
 bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, 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 
  [ begin page 107 ]ppp.00473.107.jpg 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, shout- 
 ing aloud,
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 108 ]ppp.00473.108.jpg


1 A WOMAN waits for me—she contains all, nothing is  
Yet all were lacking, if sex were lacking, or if the  
 moisture of the right man were lacking.
2Sex contains all, Bodies, Souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, 
 results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, 
 the semitic milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the  
All the governments, judges, gods, follow'd persons of  
 the earth,
These are contain'd in sex, as parts of itself, and jus- 
 tifications 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  
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 suffi- 
 cient for me:
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  
 blowing winds,
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,   [ begin page 109 ]ppp.00473.109.jpg They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run, 
 strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend them- 
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;
Evelop'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 America,
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 turn,
I shall demand perfect men and women out of my  
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.
E2   [ begin page 110 ]ppp.00473.110.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  
 apples—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  
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men  
 like me,
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  
Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west,   [ begin page 111 ]ppp.00473.111.jpg 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-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,
  [ begin page 112 ]ppp.00473.112.jpg The pulse pounding through palms and trembling  
 encircling 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,
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.


1 ONE 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  
  [ begin page 113 ]ppp.00473.113.jpg 2O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any  
 other man!
O savage and tender achings! (I bequeath them to you, my children, I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and  
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!
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 suffi- 
 cient 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.
  [ begin page 114 ]ppp.00473.114.jpg


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 return;
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;
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 beats, 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 pro- 
 duct 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  
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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 too; 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 my- 
 self 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.


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 detain'd 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  
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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?)


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.
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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?


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.


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.

Table of Contents (1867)

Poems in this cluster

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