Leaves of Grass

Page 12 of 72

Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd

  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 separated,
  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 forever;
  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

  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 myself,
  Bathing myself, bathing my songs in Sex,
  Offspring of my loins.

We Two, How Long We Were Fool'd

  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 any,
  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 prey,
  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, impervious,
  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 two,
  We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.

O Hymen! O Hymenee!

  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 Love

  I am he that aches with amorous love;
  Does the earth gravitate? does not all matter, aching, attract all matter?
  So the body of me to all I meet or know.

Native Moments

  Native moments—when you come upon me—ah you are here now,
  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 companions?
  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

  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

  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.

Facing West from California's Shores

  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 Kashmere,
  From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,
  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

  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.


In Paths Untrodden

  In paths untrodden,
  In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
  Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
  From all the standards hitherto publish'd, from the pleasures,
      profits, conformities,
  Which too long I was offering to feed my soul,
  Clear to me now standards not yet publish'd, clear to me that my soul,
  That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades,
  Here by myself away from the clank of the world,
  Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic,
  No longer abash'd, (for in this secluded spot I can respond as I
      would not dare elsewhere,)
  Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains
      all the rest,
  Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment,
  Projecting them along that substantial life,
  Bequeathing hence types of athletic love,
  Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first year,
  I proceed for all who are or have been young men,
  To tell the secret my nights and days,
  To celebrate the need of comrades.

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