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Leaves of Grass 1

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.


1 THERE was a child went forth every day; And the first object he look'd upon, that object he be- 
And that object became part of him for the day, or a  
 certain part of the day, or for many years, or  
 stretching cycles of years.
2The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and  
 white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe- 
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint  
 litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire  
 of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below  
 there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—  
 all became part of him.
3The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month  
 became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow  
 corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the  
 fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the com- 
 monest weeds by the road;
  [ begin page 160 ]ppp.00473.160.jpg And the old drunkard staggering home from the out- 
 house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the  
And the friendly boys that pass'd—and the quarrel- 
 some boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls—and the bare- 
 foot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he  
4His own parents; He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd  
 him in her womb, and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that; They gave him afterward every day—they became part  
 of him.
5The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on  
 the supper-table;
The mother with mild words—clean her cap and gown. 
 a wholesome odor falling off her person and  
 clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd. 
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the  
 crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the fur- 
 niture—the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay'd—the sense of what  
 is real—the thought if, after all, it should prove  
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time  
 —the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes  
 and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets—if they  
 are not flashes and specks, what are they?
  [ begin page 161 ]ppp.00473.161.jpg The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and  
 goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves—the  
 huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sun- 
 set—the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, light falling on roofs and  
 gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the  
 tide—the little boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, 
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon- 
 tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of pur- 
 ity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance  
 of salt-marsh and shore-mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every  
 day, and who now goes, and will always go forth  
 every day.

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.

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