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Leaves of Grass 9

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.


1THERE was a child went forth every day, And the first object he looked upon and received  
 with wonder, pity, love, or dread, that object he  
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 phœbe-  
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 covered with blossoms, and the  
 fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the com- 
 monest weeds by the road;
19*   [ begin page 222 ]ppp.01500.230.jpg And the old drunkard staggering home from the out- 
 house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that passed on her way to the  
And the friendly boys that passed—and the quarrel- 
 some boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheeked 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 fathered him, and she that conceived him  
 in her womb, and birthed him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that, They gave him afterward every day—they and of  
 them became part of him.
5The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the  
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, an- 
 gered, unjust,
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the  
 crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the  
 furniture—the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsayed—the sense of  
 what is real—the thought if, after all, it should  
 prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time—  
 the curious whether and how,
  [ begin page 223 ]ppp.01500.231.jpg 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?
The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and  
 goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-planked wharves—the  
 huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset—  
 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-towed astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests,  
The strata of colored clouds, the long bar of maroon-  
 tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity  
 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,
And these become part of him or her that peruses  
 them here.
  [ begin page 224 ]ppp.01500.232.jpg

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.

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