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Cluster: Leaves of Grass. (1867)

Table of Contents (1867)

Poems in this cluster



1 THINK of the Soul; I swear to you that body of yours gives proportions  
 to your Soul somehow to live in other spheres;
I do not know how, but I know it is so.
2Think of loving and being loved; I swear to you, whoever you are, you can interfuse  
 yourself with such things that everybody that  
 sees you shall look longingly upon you.
3Think of the past; I warn you that in a little while, others will find their  
 past in you and your times.
4The race is never separated—nor man nor woman  
All is inextricable—things, spirits, nature, nations, 
 you too—from precedents you come.
5Recall the ever-welcome defiers, (The mothers pre- 
 cede them;)
Recall the sages, poets, saviors, inventors, lawgivers, 
 of the earth;
Recall Christ, brother of rejected persons—brother of  
 slaves, felons, idiots, and of insane and diseas'd  
6Think of the time when you was not yet born; Think of times you stood at the side of the dying; Think of the time when your own body will be dying.   [ begin page 286 ]ppp.00473.286.jpg 7Think of spiritual results, Sure as the earth swims through the heavens, does  
 every one of its objects pass into spiritual  
8Think of manhood, and you to be a man; Do you count manhood, and the sweet of manhood, 
9Think of womanhood, and you to be a woman; The creation is womanhood; Have I not said that womanhood involves all? Have I not told how the universe has nothing better  
 than the best womanhood?


UNFOLDED out of the folds of the woman, man comes  
 unfolded, and is always to come unfolded;
Unfolded only out of the superbest woman of the  
 earth, is to come the superbest man of the  
Unfolded out of the friendliest woman, is to come the  
 friendliest man;
Unfolded only out of the perfect body of a woman,  
 can a man be form'd of perfect body;
Unfolded only out of the inimitable poem of the wo- 
 man, can come the poems of man—(only  
 thence have my poems come;)
Unfolded out of the strong and arrogant woman I  
 love, only thence can appear the strong and  
 arrogant man I love;
Unfolded by brawny embraces from the well-muscled  
 woman I love, only thence come the brawny  
 embraces of the man;
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman's brain, come  
 all the folds of the man's brain, duly obedient;
  [ begin page 287 ]ppp.00473.287.jpg Unfolded out of the justice of the woman, all justice  
 is unfolded;
Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all  
A man is a great thing upon the earth, and through  
 eternity—but every jot of the greatness of man  
 is unfolded out of woman,
First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be  
 shaped in himself.


1 NIGHT on the prairies; The supper is over—the fire on the ground burns  
The wearied emigrants sleep, wrapt in their blankets; I walk by myself—I stand and look at the stars, 
 which I think now I never realized before.
2Now I absorb immortality and peace, I admire death, and test propositions. 3How plenteous! How spiritual! How resumé! The same Old Man and Soul—the same old aspira- 
 tions, and the same content.
4I was thinking the day most splendid, till I saw  
 what the not-day exhibited,
I was thinking this globe enough, till there sprang  
 out so noiseless around me myriads of other  
5Now, while the great thoughts of space and eternity  
 fill me, I will measure myself by them;
And now, touch'd with the lives of other globes, ar- 
 rived as far along as those of the earth,
  [ begin page 288 ]ppp.00473.288.jpg Or waiting to arrive, or pass'd on farther than those  
 of the earth,
I henceforth no more ignore them, than I ignore my  
 own life,
Or the lives of the earth arrived as far as mine, or  
 waiting to arrive.
6O I see now that life cannot exhibit all to me—as  
 the day cannot,
I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by  


THE world below the brine; Forests at the bottom of the sea—the branches and  
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds—  
 the thick tangle, the openings, and the pink  
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white,  
 and gold—the play of light through the water,
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks—coral, gluten,  
 grass, rushes—and the aliment of the swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there, suspended, or  
 slowly crawling close to the bottom,
The sperm-whale at the surface, blowing air and  
 spray, or disporting with his flukes,
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the  
 hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray;
Passions there—wars, pursuits, tribes—sight in those  
 ocean-depths—breathing that thick-breathing  
 air, as so many do;
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle  
 air breathed by beings like us, who walk this  
The change onward from ours, to that of beings who  
 walk other spheres.
  [ begin page 289 ]ppp.00473.289.jpg


I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world,  
 and upon all oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at an- 
 guish with themselves, remorseful after deeds  
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children,  
 dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the  
 treacherous seducer of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited  
 love, attempted to be hid—I see these sights  
 on the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I  
 see martyrs and prisoners;
I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors cast- 
 ing lots who shall be kill'd, to preserve the  
 lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arro- 
 gant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon  
 negroes, and the like;
All these—All the meanness and agony without end,  
 I sitting, look out upon,
See, hear, and am silent.

Table of Contents (1867)

Poems in this cluster

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