American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman
American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
You my rich blood! you milky stream pale strippings of my life! Breast that presses against other breasts it shall be you! My brain it shall be your occult convolutions! Root of washed sweet flag! timorous pond snipe! next of guarded duplicate eggs! it shall be you!
Whoever you are, motion and reflection are especially for you, the divine ship sails the divine sea for you.
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead,... You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.
When a university course convinces like a slumbering woman and child convince, when the minted gold in the vault smiles like the night-watchman's daughter, when warranty deeds loafe in chairs opposite and are my friendly companions, I intend to reach them my hand, and make as much of them as I do of men and women like you.
When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while holding me by the hand… Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am silent, I require nothing further, I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of identity beyond the grave, but I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied, he ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.
What is it that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life.
What is it then between us? What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us? Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not.
What is life but an experiment? and mortality but an exercise? with reference to results beyond.
What is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that looks in my face? Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you? We understand men do we not? What I promis'd without mentioning it, have you not accepted? What the study could not teach—what the preaching could not accomplish is accomplish'd, is it not?
What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life.
What shall I give? and which are my miracles? Realism is mine--my miracles--Take freely,take without end--I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you or your eyes reach. Why! who makes much of a miracle? As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water, or stand under trees in the woods, or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, or sit at the table at dinner with my mother, or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon, or animals feeding in the fields, or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, or the wonderfulness of the sundown--or of stars shining so quiet and bright, or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring; or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers, or among the savants--or to the _soiree_--or to the opera. Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery, or behold children at their sports, or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman, or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial, or my own eyes and figure in the glass; obese, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, ohe whole referring--yet each distinct and in its place. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, every inch of space is a miracle, every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same; every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, all these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. To me the sea is a continual miracle; the fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships, with men in them, what stranger miracles are there?
What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics, Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what deepest remains?
What will be will be well — for what is is well, to take interest is well, and not to take interest is well.
The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.
The new recruits, even boys—the old men show them how to wear their accoutrements—they buckle the straps carefully; outdoors arming—indoors arming—the flash of the musket-barrels; the white tents cluster in camps—the arm'd sentries around—the sunrise cannon, and again at sunset; arm'd regiments arrive every day, pass through the city, and embark from the wharves; (How good they look, as they tramp down to the river, sweaty, with their guns on their shoulders! How I love them! how I could hug them, with their brown faces, and their clothes and knapsacks cover'd with dust!) The blood of the city up—arm'd! arm'd! the cry everywhere; the flags flung out from the steeples of churches, and from all the public buildings and stores; the tearful parting—the mother kisses her son—the son kisses his mother; (Loth is the mother to part—yet not a word does she speak to detain him.)
The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise man sees in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws, namely, the fusion and combination of the conscious will, or partial individual law, with those universal, eternal, unconscious ones which run through all Time, pervade history, prove immortality, give moral purpose to the entire objective world, and the last dignity to human life.
There can be no theory of any account unless it corroborate with the theory of the earth.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition, they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, they do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, not one is dissatisfied—not one is demented with the mania of owning things, not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth.
Through the ample open door of the peaceful country barn, A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding; And haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away.
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore, twenty-eight young men and all so friendly.
We were together. I forget the rest.
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first; Be not discouraged-- keep on-- there are divine things, well envelop'd; I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
The new rule shall rule as the soul rules, and as the love and justice and equality that are in the soul rule.
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage is closed and done. From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won. Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells; but I with mournful tread walk the deck my captain lies, fallen cold and dead.