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Cluster: Thoughts. (1867)

Table of Contents (1867)

Poems in this cluster



OF the visages of things—And of piercing through  
 to the accepted hells beneath;
Of ugliness—To me there is just as much in it as  
 there is in beauty—And now the ugliness of  
 human beings is acceptable to me;
Of detected persons—To me, detected persons are  
 not, in any respect, worse than undetected per- 
 sons—and are not in any respect worse than I  
 am myself;
Of criminals—To me, any judge, or any juror, is  
 equally criminal—and any reputable person is  
 also—and the President is also.


OF waters, forests, hills; Of the earth at large, whispering through medium of  
Of vista—Suppose some sight in arriere, through the  
 formative chaos, presuming the growth, fulness,  
 life, now attain'd on the journey;
(But I see the road continued, and the journey ever  
Of what was once lacking on earth, and in due time  
 has become supplied—And of what will yet be  
Because all I see and know, I believe to have purport  
 in what will yet be supplied.
  [ begin page 262 ]ppp.00473.262.jpg


OF persons arrived at high positions, ceremonies,  
 wealth, scholarships, and the like;
To me, all that those persons have arrived at, sinks  
 away from them, except as it results to their  
 Bodies and Souls,
So that often to me they appear gaunt and naked; And often, to me, each one mocks the others, and  
 mocks himself or herself,
And of each one, the core of life, namely happiness,  
 is full of the rotten excrement of maggots,
And often, to me, those men and women pass unwit- 
 tingly the true realities of life, and go toward  
 false realities,
And often, to me, they are alive after what custom has  
 served them, but nothing more,
And often, to me, they are sad, hasty, unwaked son-  
 nambules, walking the dusk.


OF ownership—As if one fit to own things could not  
 at pleasure enter upon all, and incorporate  
 them into himself or herself;
Of Equality—As if it harm'd me, giving others the  
 same chances and rights as myself—As if it  
 were not indispensable to my own rights that  
 others possess the same;
Of Justice—As if Justice could be anything but the  
 same ample law, expounded by natural judges  
 and saviors,
As if it might be this thing or that thing, according  
 to decisions.


AS I sit with others, at a great feast, suddenly, while  
 the music is playing,
  [ begin page 263 ]ppp.00473.263.jpg To my mind, (whence it comes I know not,) spectral,  
 in mist, of a wreck at sea,
Of the flower of the marine science of fifty generations,  
 founder'd off the Northeast coast, and going  
 down—Of the steamship Arctic going down,
Of the veil'd tableau—Women gather'd together on  
 deck, pale, heroic, waiting the moment that  
 draws so close—O the moment!
O the huge sob—A few bubbles—the white foam  
 spirting up—And then the women gone,
Sinking there, while the passionless wet flows on—  
 And I now pondering, Are those women indeed  
Are Souls drown'd and destroy'd so? Is only matter triumphant?


OF what I write from myself—As if that were not the  
Of Histories—As if such, however complete, were not  
 less complete than my poems;
As if the shreds, the records of nations, could possibly  
 be as lasting as my poems;
As if here were not the amount of all nations, and of  
 all the lives of heroes.


OF obedience, faith, adhesiveness; As I stand aloof and look, there is to me something  
 profoundly affecting in large masses of men,  
 following the lead of those who do not believe  
 in men.

Table of Contents (1867)

Poems in this cluster

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