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We two boys together clinging, One the other never leaving, Up and down the roads going, North and South excursions making, Power enjoying, elbows stretching, fingers clutching, Arm'd and fearless, eating, drinking, sleeping, loving. No law less than ourselves owning, sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening, Misers, menials, priests alarming, air breathing, water drinking, on the turf or the sea-beach dancing, Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness chasing, Fulfilling our foray.
A promise to California, Or inland to the great pastoral Plains, and on to Puget sound and Oregon; Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward you, to remain, to teach robust American love, For I know very well that I and robust love belong among you, inland, and along the Western sea; For these States tend inland and toward the Western sea, and I will also.
Here the frailest leaves of me and yet my strongest lasting, Here I shade and hide my thoughts, I myself do not expose them, And yet they expose me more than all my other poems.
No labor-saving machine, Nor discovery have I made, Nor will I be able to leave behind me any wealthy bequest to found hospital or library, Nor reminiscence of any deed of courage for America, Nor literary success nor intellect; nor book for the book-shelf, But a few carols vibrating through the air I leave, For comrades and lovers.
A glimpse through an interstice caught, Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room around the stove late of a winter night, and I unremark'd seated in a corner, Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching and seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand, A long while amid the noises of coming and going, of drinking and oath and smutty jest, There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little, perhaps not a word.
A leaf for hand in hand; You natural persons old and young! You on the Mississippi and on all the branches and bayous of the Mississippi! You friendly boatmen and mechanics! you roughs! You twain! and all processions moving along the streets! I wish to infuse myself among you till I see it common for you to walk hand in hand.
Earth, my likeness, Though you look so impassive, ample and spheric there, I now suspect that is not all; I now suspect there is something fierce in you eligible to burst forth, For an athlete is enamour'd of me, and I of him, But toward him there is something fierce and terrible in me eligible to burst forth, I dare not tell it in words, not even in these songs.
I dream'd in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth, I dream'd that was the new city of Friends, Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love, it led the rest, It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city, And in all their looks and words.
What think you I take my pen in hand to record? The battle-ship, perfect-model'd, majestic, that I saw pass the offing to-day under full sail? The splendors of the past day? or the splendor of the night that envelops me? Or the vaunted glory and growth of the great city spread around me? —no; But merely of two simple men I saw to-day on the pier in the midst of the crowd, parting the parting of dear friends, The one to remain hung on the other's neck and passionately kiss'd him, While the one to depart tightly prest the one to remain in his arms.
To the East and to the West, To the man of the Seaside State and of Pennsylvania, To the Kanadian of the north, to the Southerner I love, These with perfect trust to depict you as myself, the germs are in all men, I believe the main purport of these States is to found a superb friendship, exalte, previously unknown, Because I perceive it waits, and has been always waiting, latent in all men.
Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn'd love, But now I think there is no unreturn'd love, the pay is certain one way or another, (I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return'd, Yet out of that I have written these songs.)
Many things to absorb I teach to help you become eleve of mine; Yet if blood like mine circle not in your veins, If you be not silently selected by lovers and do not silently select lovers, Of what use is it that you seek to become eleve of mine?
Fast-anchor'd eternal O love! O woman I love! O bride! O wife! more resistless than I can tell, the thought of you! Then separate, as disembodied or another born, Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation, I ascend, I float in the regions of your love O man, O sharer of my roving life.
Among the men and women the multitude, I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs, Acknowledging none else, not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I am, Some are baffled, but that one is not—that one knows me. Ah lover and perfect equal, I meant that you should discover me so by faint indirections, And I when I meet you mean to discover you by the like in you.