13.7.16

Song Of Myself; Walt Whitman; 1892; Chapters 50, 51 and 52.

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50

There is that in me—I do not know what it is—but I know it is in me.
 
  
Wrench’d and sweaty—calm and cool then my body becomes; 
I sleep—I sleep long. 
  
I do not know it—it is without name—it is a word unsaid; 
It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol.1310
  
Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on; 
To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes me. 
  
Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines! I plead for my brothers and sisters. 
  
Do you see, O my brothers and sisters? 
It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is HAPPINESS.1315
  
51

The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them,
 
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future. 
  
Listener up there! Here, you! What have you to confide to me? 
Look in my face, while I snuff the sidle of evening; 
Talk honestly—no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.1320
  
Do I contradict myself? 
Very well, then, I contradict myself; 
(I am large—I contain multitudes.) 
  
I concentrate toward them that are nigh—I wait on the door-slab. 
  
Who has done his day’s work? Who will soonest be through with his supper?1325
Who wishes to walk with me? 
  
Will you speak before I am gone? Will you prove already too late? 
  
52

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me—he complains of my gab and my loitering.
 
  
I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable; 
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.1330
  
The last scud of day holds back for me; 
It flings my likeness after the rest, and true as any, on the shadow’d wilds; 
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk. 
  
I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the runaway sun; 
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.1335
  
I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love; 
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles. 
  
You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean; 
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, 
And filter and fibre your blood.1340
  
Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged; 
Missing me one place, search another; 
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

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