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Cluster: Thoughts. (1860)

Table of Contents (1860–1861)

Poems in this cluster



OF the visages of things—And of piercing through  
 to the accepted hells beneath;
Of ugliness—To me there is just as much in it as  
 there is in beauty—And now the ugliness of  
 human beings is acceptable to me;
Of detected persons—To me, detected persons are  
 not, in any respect, worse than undetected per- 
 sons—and are not in any respect worse than I  
 am myself;
Of criminals—To me, any judge, or any juror, is  
 equally criminal—and any reputable person is  
 also—and the President is also.


OF waters, forests, hills, Of the earth at large, whispering through medium  
 of me;
Of vista—Suppose some sight in arriere, through the  
 formative chaos, presuming the growth, fulness, 
 life, now attained on the journey;
  [ begin page 409 ]ppp.01500.417.jpg (But I see the road continued, and the journey ever  
Of what was once lacking on the earth, and in due  
 time has become supplied—And of what will  
 yet be supplied,
Because all I see and know, I believe to have purport  
 in what will yet be supplied.


OF persons arrived at high positions, ceremonies, 
 wealth, scholarships, and the like,
To me, all that those persons have arrived at, sinks  
 away from them, except as it results to their  
 bodies and Souls,
So that often to me they appear gaunt and naked, And often, to me, each one mocks the others, and  
 mocks himself or herself,
And of each one, the core of life, namely happiness, 
 is full of the rotten excrement of maggots,
And often, to me, those men and women pass un- 
 wittingly the true realities of life, and go toward  
 false realities,
And often, to me, they are alive after what custom  
 has served them, but nothing more,
And often, to me, they are sad, hasty, unwaked son- 
 nambules, walking the dusk.
35   [ begin page 410 ]ppp.01500.418.jpg


OF ownership—As if one fit to own things could not  
 at pleasure enter upon all, and incorporate them  
 into himself or herself;
Of Equality—As if it harmed me, giving others the  
 same chances and rights as myself—As if it  
 were not indispensable to my own rights that  
 others possess the same;
Of Justice—As if Justice could be any thing but  
 the same ample law, expounded by natural  
 judges and saviours,
As if it might be this thing or that thing, according  
 to decisions.


AS I sit with others, at a great feast, suddenly, while  
 the music is playing,
To my mind, (whence it comes I know not,) spectral, 
 in mist, of a wreck at sea,
Of the flower of the marine science of fifty genera- 
 tions, foundered off the Northeast coast, and  
 going down—Of the steamship Arctic going  
Of the veiled tableau—Women gathered together  
 on deck, pale, heroic, waiting the moment that  
 draws so close—O the moment!
  [ begin page 411 ]ppp.01500.419.jpg O the huge sob—A few bubbles—the white foam  
 spirting up—And then the women gone,
Sinking there, while the passionless wet flows on— 
 And I now pondering, Are those women indeed  
Are Souls drowned and destroyed so? Is only matter triumphant?


OF what I write from myself—As if that were not  
 the resumé;
Of Histories—As if such, however complete, were  
 not less complete than my poems;
As if the shreds, the records of nations, could possibly  
 be as lasting as my poems;
As if here were not the amount of all nations, and of  
 all the lives of heroes.


OF obedience, faith, adhesiveness; As I stand aloof and look, there is to me something  
 profoundly affecting in large masses of men, fol- 
 lowing the lead of those who do not believe in  

Table of Contents (1860–1861)

Poems in this cluster

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