Leaves of Grass

Page 11 of 72

A Woman Waits for Me

  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 milk,
  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 itself.

  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.

  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
      inter-penetrate 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

  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
      another 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,
  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
  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-bark,
  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
  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, sweats,
  The pulse pounding through palms and trembling encircling fingers,
      the young man all color'd, red, ashamed, angry;
  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 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 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

  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 children,
  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!
  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.

Free Learning Resources