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Cluster: Children of Adam. (1881)

Table of Contents (1881–1882)

Poems in this cluster



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 wondrous, 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.


FROM pent-up aching rivers, From that of myself without which I were nothing, From what I am determin'd 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  
Singing the muscular urge and the blending, Singing the bedfellow's song, (O resistless yearning! O for any and each the body correlative attracting!   [ begin page 80 ]ppp.01663.086.jpg O for you whoever you are your correlative body! O it, more than  
 all else, you delighting!)
From the hungry gnaw that eats me night and day, From native moments, from bashful pains, singing them, Seeking something yet unfound though I have diligently sought it  
 many a long year,
Singing the true song of the soul fitful at random, 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, Of the mad pushes of waves upon the land, I them chanting, The overture lightly sounding, the strain anticipating, The welcome nearness, the sight of the perfect body, The swimmer swimming naked in the bath, or motionless on his  
 back lying and floating,
The female form approaching, I pensive, love-flesh tremulous  
The divine list for myself or you or for any one making, The face, the limbs, the index from head to foot, and what it  
The mystic deliria, the madness amorous, the utter abandonment, (Hark close and still what I now whisper to you, I love you, O you entirely possess me, O that you and I escape from the rest and go utterly off, free and  
Two hawks in the air, two fishes swimming in the sea not more  
 lawless than we;)
The furious storm through me careering, I passionately 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  
(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 think? 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 permis- 
 sion taking,
From time the programme hastening, (I have loiter'd too long as  
 it is,)
From sex, from the warp and from the woof, From privacy, from frequent repinings alone, From plenty of persons near and yet the right person not near,   [ begin page 81 ]ppp.01663.087.jpg From the soft sliding of hands over me and thrusting of fingers  
 through my hair and beard,
From the long sustain'd kiss upon the mouth or bosom, 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 bedfellow'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 coverlet off-throwing, From the one so unwilling to have me leave, and me just as un- 
 willing to leave,
(Yet a moment O tender waiter, and I return,) From the hour of shining stars and dropping dews, From the night a moment I emerging flitting out, Celebrate you act divine and you children prepared for, And you stalwart loins.



I SING the body electric, The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them, They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them, And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the  
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal  
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile  
 the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul? And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?


The 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 perfect.
The expression of the face balks account, But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his  
  [ begin page 82 ]ppp.01663.088.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 him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and  
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 shoul- 
The 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 performances, 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 driving 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,
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance, The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blind- 
 ing the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of mascu- 
 line muscle through clean-setting trowsers 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 curv'd  
 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, count.


I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons, And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers of sons.   [ begin page 83 ]ppp.01663.089.jpg This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person, The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and  
 beard, the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes, the  
 richness and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also, He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were  
 massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome,
They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him, They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal  
He drank water only, the blood show'd like scarlet through the  
 clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail'd 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 gang,
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  


I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough, To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough, 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  
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women and look- 
 ing 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.


This 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, and what was  
 expected of heaven or fear'd of hell, are now consumed,
  [ begin page 84 ]ppp.01663.090.jpg Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response  
 likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all dif  
 fused, mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swell- 
 ing and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of  
 love, white-blow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the pros- 
 trate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day, Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh'd day.
This the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, man is born  
 of woman,
This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the  
 outlet again.
Be 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.
The female contains all qualities and tempers them, She is in her place and moves with perfect balance, She is all things duly veil'd, she is both passive and active, She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as  
As I see my soul reflected in Nature, As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness,  
 sanity, beauty,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female  
 I see.


The 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  
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, Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing  
 to the test of himself,
  [ begin page 85 ]ppp.01663.091.jpg Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail he strikes  
 soundings at last only here,
(Where else does he strike soundings except here?)
The man's body is sacred and the woman's body is sacred, No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the  
 laborers' gang?
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.
(All is a procession, The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.) Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest 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 diffuse float,  
 and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegeta- 
 tion sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?


A man's body at auction, (For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch the  
I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his business.
Gentlemen look on this wonder, Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough for it, For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without one  
 animal or plant,
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll'd.
In this head the all-baffling brain, In it and below it the makings of heroes. Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in  
 tendon and nerve,
They shall be stript that you may see them.
Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition, Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh not  
 flabby, good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.
  [ begin page 86 ]ppp.01663.092.jpg Within there runs blood, The same old blood! the same red-running blood! There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings,  
(Do you think they are not there because they are not express'd in  
 parlors and lecture-rooms?)
This is not only one man, this 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 embodiments and  
How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his off- 
 spring through the centuries?
(Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you could  
 trace back through the centuries?)


A 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  
Have you ever loved the body of a woman? Have you ever loved the body of a man? Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations  
 and times all over the earth?
If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred, And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood  
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more  
 beautiful than the most beautiful face.
Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the  
 fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.


O 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,)
  [ begin page 87 ]ppp.01663.093.jpg I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems, and  
 that they are my poems,
Man's, woman's, child's, youth's, wife's, husband's, mother's, father's,  
 young man's, young woman's poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears, Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking or  
 sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw- 
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition, Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck- 
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the  
 ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm- 
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger,  
 finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast- 
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone, Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, man- 
 balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above, 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 female,
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, maternity, Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes  
 from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping,  
 love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud, Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming, Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and  
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the  
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair, The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the  
 naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,   [ begin page 88 ]ppp.01663.094.jpg The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence down- 
 ward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the  
 marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health; O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but  
 of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!


A WOMAN waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking, Yet all were lacking if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of the  
 right man were lacking.
Sex contains all, bodies, souls, Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations, Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal  
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves, beauties,  
 delights of the earth,
All the governments, judges, gods, follow'd persons of the earth, These are contain'd in sex as parts of itself and justifications of  
Without shame the man I like knows and avows the deliciousness  
 of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.
Now 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 sufficient 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.
They are not one jot less than I am, They are tann'd in the face by shining suns and blowing 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 themselves,
They are ultimate in their own right—they are calm, clear, well- 
 possess'd of themselves.
  [ begin page 89 ]ppp.01663.095.jpg I 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,
Envelop'd in you sleep greater heroes and bards, They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me.
It is I, you women, I make my way, I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable, but I love you, 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, I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long accumulated  
 within me.
Through 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 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 love-spendings, 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 mounting sun, the friend I am happy with, The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder, The hillside whiten'd with blossoms of the mountain ash, The same late in autumn, the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple,  
 and light and dark green,
The rich coverlet of the grass, animals and birds, the private  
 untrimm'd bank, the primitive apples, the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments, the negligent list of one after an- 
 other as I happen to call them to me or think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely pictures,) The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men like me,   [ begin page 90 ]ppp.01663.096.jpg This poem drooping shy and unseen that I always carry, and that  
 all men carry,
(Know once for all, avow'd on purpose, wherever are men like  
 me, are our lusty lurking masculine poems,)
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 press'd and glued together with love,
Earth of chaste love, life that is only life after love, The body of my love, the body of the woman I love, the body  
 of the man, the body of the earth,
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 till he is satisfied;
The wet of woods through the early hours, 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 crush'd sage-plant, mint, birch- 
The boy's longings, the glow and pressure as he confides to me  
 what he was dreaming,
The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl and falling still and content  
 to the ground,
The no-form'd stings that sights, people, objects, sting me with, The hubb'd sting of myself, stinging me as much as it ever can  
 any one,
The sensitive, orbic, underlapp'd brothers, that only privileged  
 feelers may be intimate where they are,
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 vex'd corrosion so pensive and so painful, The torment, the irritable tide that will not be at rest, The like of the same I feel, the like of the same in others, The young man that flushes and flushes, and the young woman  
 that flushes and flushes,
The young man that wakes deep at night, the hot hand seeking to  
 repress what would master him,
The mystic amorous night, the strange half-welcome pangs, visions,  
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling encircling  
 fingers, the young man all color'd, red, ashamed, angry;
  [ begin page 91 ]ppp.01663.097.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 ripen'd  
 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  
The oath of procreation I have sworn, my Adamic and fresh  
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 pluck'd at random from myself, It has done its work—I toss it carelessly to fall where it may.


ONE hour to madness and joy! O furious! O confine me not! (What is this that frees me so in storms? What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds mean?) O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other man! O savage and tender achings! (I bequeath them to you my  
I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and bride.)
O to be yielded to you whoever you are, and you to be yielded to  
 me in defiance of the world!
O to return to Paradise! O bashful and feminine! O to draw you to me, to plant on you for the first time the lips of  
 a determin'd man.
O the puzzle, the thrice-tied knot, the deep and dark pool, all  
 untied and illumin'd!
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last! To be absolv'd from previous ties and conventions, I from mine  
 and you from yours!
To find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best of Nature!   [ begin page 92 ]ppp.01663.098.jpg To have the gag remov'd from one's mouth! To have the feeling to-day or any day I am sufficient as I am.
O something unprov'd! something in a trance! To escape utterly from others' anchors and holds! To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous! 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 fulness and freedom! With one brief hour of madness and joy.


OUT of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me, Whispering I love you, before long I die, I have travel'd a long way merely to look on you to touch you, For I could not die till I once look'd on you, For I fear'd I might afterward lose you. Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe, Return in peace to the ocean my love, I too am part of that ocean my love, we are not so much sepa- 
Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect! But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us, As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse for- 
Be not impatient—a little space—know you I salute the air, the  
 ocean and the land,
Every day at sundown for your dear sake my love.


AGES and ages returning at intervals, Undestroy'd, wandering immortal, Lusty, phallic, with the potent original loins, perfectly sweet, I, chanter of Adamic songs, Through the new garden the West, the great cities calling, Deliriate, thus prelude what is generated, offering these, offering  
Bathing myself, bathing my songs in Sex, Offspring of my loins.
  [ begin page 93 ]ppp.01663.099.jpg


WE two, how long we were fool'd, Now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes, We are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we return, We become plants, trunks, 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  
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together, We are what locust blossoms are, we drop scent around lanes  
 mornings and evenings,
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals, 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 comets,
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods, we spring on  
We are two clouds forenoons and afternoons driving overhead, 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,  
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  
We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.


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 cease? Is it because if you continued beyond the swift moment you  
 would soon certainly kill me?


I AM he that aches with amorous love; Does the earth gravitate? does not all matter, aching, attract all  
So the body of me to all I meet or know.
  [ begin page 94 ]ppp.01663.100.jpg


NATIVE moments—when you come upon me—ah you are here  
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 too, 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 drinkers, The echoes ring with our indecent calls, I pick out some low  
 person for my dearest friend,
He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate, he shall be one condemn'd by  
 others for deeds done,
I will play a part no longer, why should I exile myself from my  
O you shunn'd 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 pass'd through a populous city imprinting my brain for  
 future use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions,
Yet now of all that city I remember only a woman I casually met  
 there who detain'd 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 tremulous.


I HEARD you solemn-sweet pipes of the organ as last Sunday morn  
 I pass'd the church,
Winds of autumn, as I walk'd the woods at dusk I heard your  
 long-stretch'd sighs up above so mournful,
I heard the perfect Italian tenor singing at the opera, I heard the  
 soprano in the midst of the quartet singing;
Heart of my love! you too I heard murmuring low through one  
 of the wrists around my head,
Heard the pulse of you when all was still ringing little bells last  
 night under my ear.
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FACING west from California's shores, Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound, I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity,  
 the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled; For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kash- 
From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the  
From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands, Long having wander'd since, round the earth having wander'd, Now I face home again, very pleas'd and joyous, (But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?)


AS Adam early in the morning, Walking forth from the bower refresh'd 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 (1881–1882)

Poems in this cluster

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