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To You, Whoever You Are

Part of the cluster MESSENGER LEAVES.

To You, Whoever You Are.

WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of  
I fear those realities are to melt from under your feet  
 and hands;
Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade,  
 manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dis- 
 sipate away from you,
Your true Soul and body appear before me, They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce,  
 shops, law, science, work, farms, clothes, the  
 house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating,  
 drinking, suffering, dying.
2Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you,  
 that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none  
 better than you.
3O I have been dilatory and dumb, I should have made my way straight to you long ago, I should have blabbed nothing but you, I should have  
 chanted nothing but you.
  [ begin page 392 ]ppp.01500.400.jpg 4I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of  
None have understood you, but I understand you, None have done justice to you—you have not done  
 justice to yourself,
None but have found you imperfect—I only find no  
 imperfection in you,
None but would subordinate you—I only am he who  
 will never consent to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner,  
 better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in  
5Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the  
 centre figure of all,
From the head of the centre figure spreading a nim- 
 bus of gold-colored light,
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head with- 
 out its nimbus of gold-colored light,
From my hand, from the brain of every man and  
 woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever.
6O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you are—you have slum- 
 bered upon yourself all your life,
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of  
 the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries, Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return  
 in mockeries, what is their return?
7The mockeries are not you, Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk, I pursue you where none else has pursued you,   [ begin page 393 ]ppp.01500.401.jpg Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night,  
 the accustomed routine, if these conceal you from  
 others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you  
 from me,
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure com- 
 plexion, if these balk others, they do not balk  
The pert apparel, the deformed attitude, drunken- 
 ness, greed, premature death, all these I part  
I track through your windings and turnings—I come  
 upon you where you thought eye should never  
 come upon you.
8There is no endowment in man or woman that is not  
 tallied in you,
There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but  
 as good is in you,
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is  
 in you,
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure  
 waits for you.
9As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give  
 the like carefully to you,
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner  
 than I sing the songs of the glory of you.
10Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and west are tame compared  
 to you,
These immense meadows—these interminable rivers  
 —you are immense and interminable as they,
  [ begin page 394 ]ppp.01500.402.jpg These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature,  
 throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or  
 she who is master or mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature,  
 elements, pain, passion, dissolution.
11The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an un- 
 failing sufficiency,
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by  
 the rest, whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are pro- 
 vided, nothing is scanted,
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui,  
 what you are picks its way.

Part of the cluster MESSENGER LEAVES.

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