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To the Sayers of Words


1EARTH, round, rolling, compact —suns, moons, ani- 
 mals—all these are words to be said,
Watery, vegetable, sauroid advances—beings, pre- 
 monitions, lispings of the future,
Behold! these are vast words to be said.
2Were you thinking that those were the words—those  
 upright lines? those curves, angles, dots?
No, those are not the words—the substantial words  
 are in the ground and sea,
They are in the air—they are in you.
3Were you thinking that those were the words— 
 those delicious sounds out of your friends' 
No, the real words are more delicious than they.
4Human bodies are words, myriads of words, In the best poems re-appears the body, man's or  
 woman's, well-shaped, natural, gay,
Every part able, active, receptive, without shame or  
 the need of shame.
28*   [ begin page 330 ]ppp.01500.338.jpg 5Air, soil, water, fire, these are words, I myself am a word with them—my qualities inter- 
 penetrate with theirs—my name is nothing to  
Though it were told in the three thousand languages, 
 what would air, soil, water, fire, know of my  
6A healthy presence, a friendly or commanding ges- 
 ture, are words, sayings, meanings,
The charms that go with the mere looks of some men  
 and women, are sayings and meanings also.
7The workmanship of Souls is by the inaudible words  
 of the earth,
The great masters, the sayers, know the earth's words, 
 and use them more than the audible words.
8Amelioration is one of the earth's words, The earth neither lags nor hastens, It has all attributes, growths, effects, latent in itself  
 from the jump,
It is not half beautiful only—defects and excres- 
 cences show just as much as perfections show.
9The earth does not withhold, it is generous enough, The truths of the earth continually wait, they are  
 not so concealed either,
They are calm, subtle, untransmissible by print, They are imbued through all things, conveying them- 
 selves willingly,
Conveying a sentiment and invitation of the earth— 
 I utter and utter,
  [ begin page 331 ]ppp.01500.339.jpg I speak not, yet if you hear me not, of what avail am  
 I to you?
To bear—to better—lacking these, of what avail  
 am I?
10Accouche! Accouchez! Will you rot your own fruit in yourself there? Will you squat and stifle there? 11The earth does not argue, Is not pathetic, has no arrangements, Does not scream, haste, persuade, threaten, promise, Makes no discriminations, has no conceivable fail- 
Closes nothing, refuses nothing, shuts none out, Of all the powers, objects, states, it notifies, shuts  
 none out.
12The earth does not exhibit itself, nor refuse to exhibit  
 itself—possesses still underneath,
Underneath the ostensible sounds, the august chorus  
 of heroes, the wail of slaves,
Persuasions of lovers, curses, gasps of the dying, 
 laughter of young people, accents of bargainers,
Underneath these, possessing the words that never  
13To her children, the words of the eloquent dumb  
 great mother never fail,
The true words do not fail, for motion does not fail, 
 and reflection does not fail,
Also the day and night do not fail, and the voyage  
 we pursue does not fail.
  [ begin page 332 ]ppp.01500.340.jpg 14Of the interminable sisters, Of the ceaseless cotillions of sisters, Of the centripetal and centrifugal sisters, the elder  
 and younger sisters,
The beautiful sister we know dances on with the rest.
15With her ample back toward every beholder, With the fascinations of youth, and the equal fascina- 
 tions of age,
Sits she whom I too love like the rest—sits undis- 
Holding up in her hand what has the character of a  
 mirror, while her eyes glance back from it,
Glance as she sits, inviting none, denying none, Holding a mirror day and night tirelessly before her  
 own face.
16Seen at hand, or seen at a distance, Duly the twenty-four appear in public every day, Duly approach and pass with their companions, or  
 a companion,
Looking from no countenances of their own, but from  
 the countenances of those who are with them,
From the countenances of children or women, or the  
 manly countenance,
From the open countenances of animals, or from  
 inanimate things,
From the landscape or waters, or from the exquisite  
 apparition of the sky,
From our countenances, mine and yours, faithfully  
 returning them,
Every day in public appearing without fail, but never  
 twice with the same companions.
  [ begin page 333 ]ppp.01500.341.jpg 17Embracing man, embracing all, proceed the three  
 hundred and sixty-five resistlessly round the sun,
Embracing all, soothing, supporting, follow close three  
 hundred and sixty-five offsets of the first, sure  
 and necessary as they.
18Tumbling on steadily, nothing dreading, Sunshine, storm, cold, heat, forever withstanding, 
 passing, carrying,
The Soul's realization and determination still inherit- 
The fluid vacuum around and ahead still entering  
 and dividing,
No balk retarding, no anchor anchoring, on no rock  
Swift, glad, content, unbereaved, nothing losing, Of all able and ready at any time to give strict  
The divine ship sails the divine sea.
19Whoever you are! motion and reflection are espe- 
 cially for you,
The divine ship sails the divine sea for you.
20Whoever you are! you are he or she for whom the  
 earth is solid and liquid,
You are he or she for whom the sun and moon hang  
 in the sky,
For none more than you are the present and the past, For none more than you is immortality.
21Each man to himself, and each woman to herself, is  
 the word of the past and present, and the word  
 of immortality,
  [ begin page 334 ]ppp.01500.342.jpg No one can acquire for another—not one! Not one can grow for another—not one!
22The song is to the singer, and comes back most to  
The teaching is to the teacher, and comes back most  
 to him,
The murder is to the murderer, and comes back most  
 to him,
The theft is to the thief, and comes back most to him, The love is to the lover, and comes back most to him, The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him  
 —it cannot fail,
The oration is to the orator, and the acting is to the  
 actor and actress, not to the audience,
And no man understands any greatness or goodness  
 but his own, or the indication of his own.
23I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or  
 her who shall be complete!
I swear the earth remains broken and jagged only to  
 him or her who remains broken and jagged!
24I swear there is no greatness or power that does not  
 emulate those of the earth!
I swear there can be no theory of any account, unless  
 it corroborate the theory of the earth!
No politics, art, religion, behavior, or what not, is of  
 account, unless it compare with the amplitude of  
 the earth,
Unless it face the exactness, vitality, impartiality, 
 rectitude of the earth.
25I swear I begin to see love with sweeter spasms than  
 that which responds love!
  [ begin page 335 ]ppp.01500.343.jpg It is that which contains itself, which never invites  
 and never refuses.
26I swear I begin to see little or nothing in audible  
I swear I think all merges toward the presentation of  
 the unspoken meanings of the earth!
Toward him who sings the songs of the body, and of  
 the truths of the earth,
Toward him who makes the dictionaries of the words  
 that print cannot touch.
27I swear I see what is better than to tell the best, It is always to leave the best untold. 28When I undertake to tell the best, I find I cannot, My tongue is ineffectual on its pivots, My breath will not be obedient to its organs, I become a dumb man. 29The best of the earth cannot be told anyhow—all or  
 any is best,
It is not what you anticipated—it is cheaper, easier, 
Things are not dismissed from the places they held  
The earth is just as positive and direct as it was  
Facts, religions, improvements, politics, trades, are as  
 real as before,
But the Soul is also real,—it too is positive and  
No reasoning, no proof has established it, Undeniable growth has established it.
  [ begin page 336 ]ppp.01500.344.jpg 30This is a poem for the sayers of words—these are  
 hints of meanings,
These are they that echo the tones of Souls, and the  
 phrases of Souls;
If they did not echo the phrases of Souls, what were  
 they then?
If they had not reference to you in especial, what were  
 they then?
31I swear I will never henceforth have to do with the  
 faith that tells the best!
I will have to do with that faith only that leaves the  
 best untold.
32Say on, sayers! Delve! mould! pile the words of the earth! Work on—it is materials you bring, not breaths; Work on, age after age! nothing is to be lost, It may have to wait long, but it will certainly come  
 in use,
When the materials are all prepared, the architects  
 shall appear.
33I swear to you the architects shall appear without fail! 
 I announce them and lead them,
I swear to you they will understand you and justify  
I swear to you the greatest among them shall be he  
 who best knows you, and encloses all, and is  
 faithful to all,
I swear to you, he and the rest shall not forget you  
 —they shall perceive that you are not an iota  
 less than they,
I swear to you, you shall be glorified in them.
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