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Cluster: Leaves of Grass. (1867)

Table of Contents (1867)

Poems in this cluster



1 O ME, man of slack faith so long! Standing aloof—denying portions so long; Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth; Discovering to-day there is no lie, or form of lie, and  
 can be none, but grows as inevitably upon it- 
 self as the truth does upon itself,
Or as any law of the earth, or any natural production  
 of the earth does.
2(This is curious, and may not be realized immedi- 
 ately—But it must be realized;
I feel in myself that I represent falsehoods equally  
 with the rest,
And that the universe does.)
3Where has fail'd a perfect return, indifferent of lies  
 or the truth?
Is it upon the ground, or in water or fire? or in the  
 spirit of man? or in the meat and blood?
4Meditating among liars, and retreating sternly into  
 myself, I see that there are really no liars or  
 lies after all,
And that nothing fails its perfect return—And that  
 what are called lies are perfect returns,
And that each thing exactly represents itself, and  
 what has preceded it,
And that the truth includes all, and is compact, just  
 as much as space is compact,
  [ begin page 23c ]ppp.00473.457.jpg And that there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of  
 the truth—but that all is truth without ex- 
And henceforth I will go celebrate anything I see  
 or am,
And sing and laugh, and deny nothing.


FORMS, qualities, lives, humanity, language, thoughts, The ones known, and the ones unknown—the ones on  
 the stars,
The stars themselves, some shaped, others unshaped, Wonders as of those countries—the soil, trees, cities,  
 inhabitants, whatever they may be,
Splendid suns, the moons and rings, the countless  
 combinations and effects;
Such-like, and as good as such-like, visible here or  
 anywhere, stand provided for in a handful of  
 space, which I extend my arm and half enclose  
 with my hand;
That contains the start of each and all—the virtue,  
 the germs of all.


1NOW I make a leaf of Voices—for I have found  
 nothing mightier than they are,
And I have found that no word spoken, but is beauti- 
 ful, in its place.
2O what is it in me that makes me tremble so at  
Surely, whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him  
 or her I shall follow,
  [ begin page 24c ]ppp.00473.458.jpg As the water follows the moon, silently, with fluid  
 steps any where around the globe.
3All waits for the right voices; Where is the practis'd and perfect organ? Where is  
 the develop'd Soul?
For I see every word utter'd thence has deeper, 
 sweeter, new sounds, impossible on less terms.
4I see brains and lips closed—tympans and temples  
Until that comes which has the quality to strike and  
 to unclose,
Until that comes which has the quality to bring forth  
 what lies slumbering, forever ready, in all  


1 WHAT am I, after all, but a child, pleased with the  
 sound of my own name? repeating it over and  
I stand apart to hear—it never tires me.
2To you, your name also, Did you think there was nothing but two or three pro- 
 nunciations in the sound of your name?


LOCATIONS and times—what is it in me that meets them  
 all, whenever and wherever, and makes me at  
Forms, colors, densities, odors—what is it in me that  
 corresponds with them?

Table of Contents (1867)

Poems in this cluster

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