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Cluster: Enfans D'adam. (1860)

Table of Contents (1860–1861)

Poems in this cluster

Enfans d'Adam.


TO the garden, the world, anew ascending, Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding, The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being, Curious, here behold my resurrection, after slumber, The revolving cycles, in their wide sweep, having  
 brought me again,
Amorous, mature—all beautiful to me—all won- 
My limbs, and the quivering fire that ever plays through them, for reasons, most wondrous; Existing, I peer and penetrate still, Content with the present—content with the past, By my side, or back of me, Eve following, Or in front, and I following her just the same.
  [ begin page 288 ]ppp.01500.296.jpg


FROM that of myself, without which I were nothing, From what I am determined to make illustrious, even  
 if I stand sole among men,
From my own voice resonant—singing the phallus, Singing the song of procreation, Singing the need of superb children, and therein  
 superb grown people,
Singing the muscular urge and the blending, Singing the bedfellow's song, (O resistless yearning! O for any and each, the body correlative attracting! O for you, whoever you are, your correlative body! 
 O it, more than all else, you delighting!)
From the pent up rivers of myself, From the hungry gnaw that eats me night and day, From native moments—from bashful pains—sing- 
 ing them,
Singing something yet unfound, though I have dili- 
 gently sought it, ten thousand years,
Singing the true song of the Soul, fitful, at random, Singing what, to the Soul, entirely redeemed her, the  
 faithful one, the prostitute, who detained me when  
 I went to the city,
Singing the song of prostitutes; Renascent with grossest Nature, or among animals, Of that—of them, and what goes with them, my  
 poems informing,
Of the smell of apples and lemons—of the pairing  
 of birds,
Of the wet of woods—of the lapping of waves,   [ begin page 289 ]ppp.01500.297.jpg Of the mad pushes of waves upon the land—I them  
The overture lightly sounding—the strain antici- 
The welcome nearness—the sight of the perfect  
The swimmer swimming naked in the bath, or mo- 
 tionless on his back lying and floating,
The female form approaching—I, pensive, love-flesh  
 tremulous, aching;
The slave's body for sale—I, sternly, with harsh  
 voice, auctioneering,
The divine list, for myself or you, or for any one, 
The face—the limbs—the index from head to foot, 
 and what it arouses,
The mystic deliria—the madness amorous—the utter  
(Hark, close and still, what I now whisper to you, I love you—O you entirely possess me, O I wish that you and I escape from the rest, and go  
 utterly off—O free and lawless,
Two hawks in the air—two fishes swimming in the  
 sea not more lawless than we;)
The furious storm through me careering—I passion- 
 ately trembling,
The oath of the inseparableness of two together—of  
 the woman that loves me, and whom I love more  
 than my life—That oath swearing,
(O I willingly stake all, for you! O let me be lost, if it must be so! O you and I—what is it to us what the rest do or  
25   [ begin page 290 ]ppp.01500.298.jpg What is all else to us? only that we enjoy each other, 
 and exhaust each other, if it must be so;)
From the master—the pilot I yield the vessel to, The general commanding me, commanding all—from  
 him permission taking,
From time the programme hastening, (I have loitered  
 too long, as it is;)
From sex—From the warp and from the woof, (To talk to the perfect girl who understands me—the  
 girl of The States,
To waft to her these from my own lips—to effuse  
 them from my own body;)
From privacy—From frequent repinings alone, From plenty of persons near, and yet the right person  
 not near,
From the soft sliding of hands over me, and thrusting  
 of fingers through my hair and beard,
From the long-sustained kiss upon the mouth or  
From the close pressure that makes me or any man  
 drunk, fainting with excess,
From what the divine husband knows—from the  
 work of fatherhood,
From exultation, victory, and relief—from the bed- 
 fellow's embrace in the night,
From the act-poems of eyes, hands, hips, and bosoms, From the cling of the trembling arm, From the bending curve and the clinch, From side by side, the pliant coverlid off throwing, From the one so unwilling to have me leave—and  
 me just as unwilling to leave,
(Yet a moment, O tender waiter, and I return,) From the hour of shining stars and dropping dews,   [ begin page 291 ]ppp.01500.299.jpg From the night, a moment, I, emerging, flitting out, Celebrate you, enfans prepared for, And you, stalwart loins.


1O MY children! O mates! O the bodies of you, and of all men and women,  
 engirth me, and I engirth them,
O they will not let me off, nor I them, till I go with  
 them, respond to them,
And respond to the contact of them, and discorrupt  
 them, and charge them with the charge of the  
2Was it doubted if those who corrupt their own bodies  
 conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they  
 who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do as much as the Soul? And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?
3The love of the body of man or woman balks account  
 —the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is  
4The expression of the face balks account, But the expression of a well made man appears not  
 only in his face,
  [ begin page 292 ]ppp.01500.300.jpg It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the  
 joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex  
 of his waist and knees—dress does not hide  
The strong, sweet, supple quality he has, strikes  
 through the cotton and flannel,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem,  
 perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck  
 and shoulder-side.
5The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and  
 heads of women, the folds of their dress, their  
 style as we pass in the street, the contour of their  
 shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming bath, seen as  
 he swims through the transparent green-shine, or  
 lies with his face up, and rolls silently to and fro  
 in the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row- 
 boats—the horseman in his saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their perform- 
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their  
 open dinner-kettles, and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child—the farmer's daughter  
 in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hoeing corn—the sleigh-driver  
 guiding his six horses through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite  
 grown, lusty, good-natured, native-born, out on  
 the vacant lot at sun-down, after work,
  [ begin page 293 ]ppp.01500.301.jpg The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love  
 and resistance,
The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled  
 over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the  
 play of masculine muscle through clean-setting  
 trousers and waist-straps,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the  
 bell strikes suddenly again, and the listening on  
 the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes—the bent head,  
 the curved neck, and the counting,
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at  
 the mother's breast with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers,  
 march in line with the firemen, and pause, listen,  
 and count.
6I knew a man, He was a common farmer—he was the father of five  
And in them were the fathers of sons—and in them  
 were the fathers of sons.
7This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty  
 of person,
The shape of his head, the richness and breadth of  
 his manners, the pale yellow and white of his  
 hair and beard, and the immeasurable meaning  
 of his black eyes,
These I used to go and visit him to see—he was wise  
25*   [ begin page 294 ]ppp.01500.302.jpg He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old—  
 his sons were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced,  
They and his daughters loved him—all who saw him  
 loved him,
They did not love him by allowance—they loved him  
 with personal love;
He drank water only—the blood showed like scarlet  
 through the clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher—he sailed  
 his boat himself—he had a fine one presented  
 to him by a ship-joiner—he had fowling-  
 pieces, presented to him by men that loved  
When he went with his five sons and many grand- 
 sons to hunt or fish, you would pick him out  
 as the most beautiful and vigorous of the  
You would wish long and long to be with him—you  
 would wish to sit by him in the boat, that you  
 and he might touch each other.
8I have perceived that to be with those I like is  
To stop in company with the rest at evening is  
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing,  
 laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my  
 arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a  
 moment—what is this, then?
I do not ask any more delight—I swim in it, as in  
 a sea.
  [ begin page 295 ]ppp.01500.303.jpg 9There is something in staying close to men and  
 women, and looking on them, and in the contact  
 and odor of them, that pleases the Soul well,
All things please the Soul—but these please the  
 Soul well.
10This is the female form, A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot, It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction, I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than  
 a helpless vapor—all falls aside but myself  
 and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth,  
 the atmosphere and the clouds, and what was  
 expected of heaven or feared of hell, are now  
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the  
 response likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling  
 hands, all diffused—mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow, and flow stung by the ebb—  
 love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous,  
 quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious  
Bridegroom-night of love, working surely and softly  
 into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day, Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-fleshed  
11This is the nucleus—after the child is born of  
 woman, the man is born of woman,
  [ begin page 296 ]ppp.01500.304.jpg This is the bath of birth—this is the merge of small  
 and large, and the outlet again.
12Be not ashamed, women—your privilege encloses  
 the rest, and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates  
 of the Soul.
13The female contains all qualities, and tempers them  
 —she is in her place, and moves with perfect  
She is all things duly veiled—she is both passive and  
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons  
 as well as daughters.
14As I see my Soul reflected in nature, As I see through a mist, one with inexpressible com- 
 pleteness and beauty,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast—  
 the female I see.
15The male is not less the Soul, nor more—he too is in  
 his place,
He too is all qualities—he is action and power, The flush of the known universe is in him, Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance  
 become him well,
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost,  
 sorrow that is utmost, become him well—pride  
 is for him,
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent  
 to the Soul;
  [ begin page 297 ]ppp.01500.305.jpg Knowledge becomes him—he likes it always—he  
 brings everything to the test of himself,
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail,  
 he strikes soundings at last only here,
Where else does he strike soundings, except here?
16The man's body is sacred, and the woman's body is  
No matter who it is, it is sacred; Is it a slave? Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants  
 just landed on the wharf?
Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the  
 well-off—just as much as you,
Each has his or her place in the procession.
17All is a procession, The universe is a procession, with measured and  
 beautiful motion.
18Do you know so much yourself, that you call the slave  
 or the dull-face ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and  
 he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its  
 diffused float—and the soil is on the surface,  
 and water runs, and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?
19A man's body at auction! I help the auctioneer—the sloven does not half know  
 his business.
20Gentlemen, look on this wonder! Whatever the bids of the bidders, they cannot be high  
 enough for it,
  [ begin page 298 ]ppp.01500.306.jpg For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years,  
 without one animal or plant,
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily rolled.
21In this head the all-baffling brain, In it and below it, the making of the attributes of  
22Examine these limbs, red, black, or white—they are  
 so cunning in tendon and nerve,
They shall be stript, that you may see them.
23Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition, Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant back-bone and neck,  
 flesh not flabby, good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.
24Within there runs blood, The same old blood! The same red-running blood! There swells and jets a heart—there all passions,  
 desires, reachings, aspirations,
Do you think they are not there because they are not  
 expressed in parlors and lecture-rooms?
25This is not only one man—this is the father of those  
 who shall be fathers in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics, Of him countless immortal lives, with countless em- 
 bodiments and enjoyments.
26How do you know who shall come from the offspring  
 of his offspring through the centuries?
  [ begin page 299 ]ppp.01500.307.jpg Who might you find you have come from yourself, if  
 you could trace back through the centuries?
27A woman's body at auction! She too is not only herself—she is the teeming  
 mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be  
 mates to the mothers.
28Her daughters, or their daughters' daughters—who  
 knows who shall mate with them?
Who knows through the centuries what heroes may  
 come from them?
29In them, and of them, natal love—in them that  
 divine mystery, the same old beautiful mystery.
30Have you ever loved the body of a woman? Have you ever loved the body of a man? Your father—where is your father? Your mother—is she living? have you been much  
 with her? and has she been much with you?
Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all,  
 in all nations and times, all over the earth?
31If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred, And the glory and sweet of a man, is the token of  
 manhood untainted,
And in man or woman, a clean, strong, firm-fibred  
 body, is beautiful as the most beautiful face.
32Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live  
 body? or the fool that corrupted her own live  
  [ begin page 300 ]ppp.01500.308.jpg For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot con- 
 ceal themselves.
33O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in  
 other men and women, nor the likes of the parts  
 of you;
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the  
 likes of the Soul, (and that they are the Soul,)  
 I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my  
 poems—and that they are poems,
Man's, woman's, child's, youth's, wife's, husband's,  
 mother's, father's, young man's, young woman's  
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears, Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eye-brows, and the  
 waking or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws,  
 and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition, Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the  
 neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoul- 
 ders, and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, arm-pit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-  
 sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb,  
 fore-finger, finger-balls, finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-  
 bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, back-bone, joints of the back-bone, Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward  
 round, man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,   [ begin page 301 ]ppp.01500.309.jpg Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg, Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel, All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of  
 my or your body, or of any one's body, male or  
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet  
 and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame, Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, ma- 
Womanhood, and all that is a woman—and the man  
 that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laugh- 
 ter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and  
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shout- 
 ing aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking,  
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-  
 curving, and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and  
 around the eyes,
The skin, the sun-burnt shade, freckles, hair, The curious sympathy one feels, when feeling with  
 the hand the naked meat of his own body, or  
 another person's body,
The circling rivers, the breath, and breathing it in  
 and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and  
 thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you, or within me—the  
 bones, and the marrow in the bones,
26   [ begin page 302 ]ppp.01500.310.jpg The exquisite realization of health, O I say now these are not the parts and poems of the  
 body only, but of the Soul,
O I say these are the Soul!


1A WOMAN waits for me—she contains all, nothing is  
Yet all were lacking, if sex were lacking, or if the  
 moisture of the right man were lacking.
2Sex contains all, Bodies, Souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies,  
 results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery,  
 the semitic milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the  
All the governments, judges, gods, followed persons  
 of the earth,
These are contained in sex, as parts of itself, and jus- 
 tifications of itself.
3Without shame the man I like knows and avows the  
 deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows  
  [ begin page 303 ]ppp.01500.311.jpg 4O I will fetch bully breeds of children yet! I will dismiss myself from impassive women, I will go stay with her who waits for me, and with  
 those women that are warm-blooded and suffi- 
 cient for me;
I see that they understand me, and do not deny me, I see that they are worthy of me—I will be the robust  
 husband of those women.
5They are not one jot less than I am, They are tanned in the face by shining suns and blow- 
 ing winds,
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength, They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot,  
 run, strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend them- 
They are ultimate in their own right—they are calm,  
 clear, well-possessed of themselves.
6I draw you close to me, you women! I cannot let you go, I would do you good, I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our  
 own sake, but for others' sakes;
Enveloped in you sleep greater heroes and bards, They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me.
7It is I, you women—I make my way, I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable—but I love  
I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for you, I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for These  
 States—I press with slow rude muscle,
I brace myself effectually—I listen to no entreaties,   [ begin page 304 ]ppp.01500.312.jpg I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long  
 accumulated within me.
8Through you I drain the pent-up rivers of myself, In you I wrap a thousand onward years, On you I graft the grafts of the best-beloved of me and  
 of America,
The drops I distil upon you shall grow fierce and  
 athletic girls, new artists, musicians, and singers,
The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in  
 their turn,
I shall demand perfect men and women out of my  
I shall expect them to interpenetrate with others, as I  
 and you interpenetrate now,
I shall count on the fruits of the gushing showers of  
 them, as I count on the fruits of the gushing  
 showers I give now,
I shall look for loving crops from the birth, life, death,  
 immortality, I plant so lovingly now.


SPONTANEOUS me, Nature, The loving day, the friend I am happy with, The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder, The hill-side whitened with blossoms of the mountain  
The same, late in autumn—the gorgeous hues of red, 
 yellow, drab, purple, and light and dark green,
  [ begin page 305 ]ppp.01500.313.jpg The rich coverlid of the grass—animals and birds— 
 the private untrimmed bank—the primitive apples  
 —the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments—the negligent list of  
 one after another, as I happen to call them to me, 
 or think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely  
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men  
 like me,
This poem, drooping shy and unseen, that I always  
 carry, and that all men carry,
(Know, once for all, avowed on purpose, wherever are  
 men like me, are our lusty, lurking, masculine, 
Love-thoughts, love-juice, love-odor, love-yielding, love- 
 climbers, and the climbing sap,
Arms and hands of love—lips of love—phallic thumb  
 of love—breasts of love—bellies pressed and  
 glued together with love,
Earth of chaste love—life that is only life after  
The body of my love—the body of the woman I  
 love—the body of the man—the body of the  
Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west, The hairy wild-bee that murmurs and hankers up and  
 down—that gripes the full-grown lady-flower, 
 curves upon her with amorous firm legs, takes  
 his will of her, and holds himself tremulous and  
 tight upon her till he is satisfied,
The wet of woods through the early hours, 26*   [ begin page 306 ]ppp.01500.314.jpg Two sleepers at night lying close together as they sleep, 
 one with an arm slanting down across and below  
 the waist of the other,
The smell of apples, aromas from crushed sage-plant, 
 mint, birch-bark,
The boy's longings, the glow and pressure as he con- 
 fides to me what he was dreaming,
The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl, and falling still  
 and content to the ground,
The no-formed stings that sights, people, objects, sting  
 me with,
The hubbed sting of myself, stinging me as much as it  
 ever can any one,
The sensitive, orbic, underlapped brothers, that only  
 privileged feelers may be intimate where they  
The curious roamer, the hand, roaming all over the  
 body—the bashful withdrawing of flesh where  
 the fingers soothingly pause and edge themselves,
The limpid liquid within the young man, The vexed corrosion, so pensive and so painful, The torment—the irritable tide that will not be at  
The like of the same I feel—the like of the same in  
The young woman that flushes and flushes, and the  
 young man that flushes and flushes,
The young man that wakes, deep at night, the hot  
 hand seeking to repress what would master him  
 —the strange half-welcome pangs, visions, sweats,
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling  
 encircling fingers—the young man all colored, 
 red, ashamed, angry;
  [ begin page 307 ]ppp.01500.315.jpg The souse upon me of my lover the sea, as I lie willing  
 and naked,
The merriment of the twin-babes that crawl over the  
 grass in the sun, the mother never turning her  
 vigilant eyes from them,
The walnut-trunk, the walnut-husks, and the ripening  
 or ripened long-round walnuts,
The continence of vegetables, birds, animals, The consequent meanness of me should I skulk or find  
 myself indecent, while birds and animals never  
 once skulk or find themselves indecent,
The great chastity of paternity, to match the great  
 chastity of maternity,
The oath of procreation I have sworn—my Adamic  
 and fresh daughters,
The greed that eats me day and night with hungry  
 gnaw, till I saturate what shall produce boys to  
 fill my place when I am through,
The wholesome relief, repose, content, And this bunch plucked at random from myself, It has done its work—I toss it carelessly to fall  
 where it may.


1O FURIOUS! O confine me not! (What is this that frees me so in storms? What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds  
  [ begin page 308 ]ppp.01500.316.jpg 2O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other  
O savage and tender achings! (I bequeath them to you, my children, I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and  
3O to be yielded to you, whoever you are, and you to  
 be yielded me, in defiance of the world!
(Know, I am a man, attracting, at any time, her I but  
 look upon, or touch with the tips of my fingers,
Or that touches my face, or leans against me.)
4O to return to Paradise! O to draw you to me—to plant on you, for the first  
 time, the lips of a determined man!
O rich and feminine! O to show you to realize the  
 blood of life for yourself, whoever you are—and  
 no matter when and where you live.
5O the puzzle—the thrice-tied knot—the deep and  
 dark pool! O all untied and illumined!
O to speed where there is space enough and air  
 enough at last!
O to be absolved from previous follies and degrada- 
 tions—I from mine, and you from yours!
O to find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the  
 best of nature!
O to have the gag removed from one's mouth! O to have the feeling, to-day or any day, I am suffi- 
 cient as I am!
6O something unproved! something in a trance! O madness amorous! O trembling!   [ begin page 309 ]ppp.01500.317.jpg O to escape utterly from others' anchors and holds! To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and  
To court destruction with taunts—with invitations! To ascend—to leap to the heavens of the love  
 indicated to me!
To rise thither with my inebriate Soul! To be lost, if it must be so! To feed the remainder of life with one hour of ful- 
 ness and freedom!
With one brief hour of madness and joy.


YOU and I—what the earth is, we are, We two—how long we were fooled! Now delicious, transmuted, swiftly we escape, as  
 Nature escapes,
We are Nature—long have we been absent, but now  
 we return,
We become plants, leaves, foliage, roots, bark, We are bedded in the ground—we are rocks, We are oaks—we grow in the openings side by side, We browse—we are two among the wild herds, 
 spontaneous as any,
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together, We are what the locust blossoms are—we drop scent around the lanes, mornings and evenings, We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, 
  [ begin page 310 ]ppp.01500.318.jpg We are what the flowing wet of the Tennessee is— 
 we are two peaks of the Blue Mountains, rising  
 up in Virginia,
We are two predatory hawks—we soar above and  
 look down,
We are two resplendent suns—we it is who balance  
 ourselves orbic and stellar—we are as two  
We prowl fanged and four-footed in the woods—we  
 spring on prey;
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving  
We are seas mingling—we are two of those cheerful  
 waves, rolling over each other, and interwetting  
 each other,
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, 
 pervious, impervious,
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness—we are each  
 product and influence of the globe,
We have circled and circled till we have arrived  
 home again—we two have,
We have voided all but freedom, and all but our  
 own joy.


NATIVE moments! when you come upon me—Ah  
 you are here now!
Give me now libidinous joys only! Give me the drench of my passions! Give me life  
 coarse and rank!
To-day, I go consort with nature's darlings—to-night  
  [ begin page 311 ]ppp.01500.319.jpg I am for those who believe in loose delights—I share  
 the midnight orgies of young men,
I dance with the dancers, and drink with the drink- 
The echoes ring with our indecent calls, I take for my love some prostitute—I pick out some  
 low person for my dearest friend,
He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate—he shall be one  
 condemned by others for deeds done;
I will play a part no longer—Why should I exile  
 myself from my companions?
O you shunned persons! I at least do not shun you, I come forthwith in your midst—I will be your poet, I will be more to you than to any of the rest.


ONCE I passed through a populous city, imprinting  
 my brain, for future use, with its shows, architec- 
 ture, customs, and traditions;
Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman  
 I casually met there, who detained me for love  
 of me,
Day by day and night by night we were together,— 
 All else has long been forgotten by me,
I remember I say only that woman who passionately  
 clung to me,
Again we wander—we love—we separate again, Again she holds me by the hand—I must not go! I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and  
  [ begin page 312 ]ppp.01500.320.jpg


INQUIRING, tireless, seeking that yet unfound, I, a child, very old, over waves, toward the house of  
 maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western Sea—having  
 arrived at last where I am—the circle almost  
For coming westward from Hindustan, from the vales  
 of Kashmere,
From Asia—from the north—from the God, the  
 sage, and the hero,
From the south—from the flowery peninsulas, and  
 the spice islands,
Now I face the old home again—looking over to it, 
 joyous, as after long travel, growth, and sleep;
But where is what I started for, so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?


IN the new garden, in all the parts, In cities now, modern, I wander, Though the second or third result, or still further, 
 primitive yet,
Days, places, indifferent—though various, the same, Time, Paradise, the Mannahatta, the prairies, finding  
 me unchanged,
Death indifferent—Is it that I lived long since? 
 Was I buried very long ago?
  [ begin page 313 ]ppp.01500.321.jpg For all that, I may now be watching you here, this  
For the future, with determined will, I seek—the  
 woman of the future,
You, born years, centuries after me, I seek.


AGES and ages, returning at intervals, Undestroyed, wandering immortal, Lusty, phallic, with the potent original loins, perfectly  
I, chanter of Adamic songs, Through the new garden, the West, the great cities, 
Deliriate, thus prelude what is generated, offering  
 these, offering myself,
Bathing myself, bathing my songs in sex, Offspring of my loins.


O HYMEN! O hymenee! Why do you tantalize me thus? O why sting me for a swift moment only? Why can you not continue? O why do you now  
Is it because, if you continued beyond the swift  
 moment, you would soon certainly kill me?
27   [ begin page 314 ]ppp.01500.322.jpg


I AM he that aches with love; Does the earth gravitate? Does not all matter, ach- 
 ing, attract all matter?
So the body of me to all I meet, or that I know.


EARLY in the morning, Walking forth from the bower, refreshed with sleep, Behold me where I pass—hear my voice—approach, Touch me—touch the palm of your hand to my  
 body as I pass,
Be not afraid of my body.

Table of Contents (1860–1861)

Poems in this cluster

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