American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman
American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
My final merit I refuse you, I refuse putting from me what I really am, Encompass worlds but never try to encompass me, I crowd your sleekest and best by simply looking toward you. Writing and talk do not prove me, I carry the plenum of proof in my face,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.
O the joy of my spirit--it is uncaged--it darts like lightning! It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time, I will have thousands of globes and all time.
Oh, while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me shall ever take command of me.
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.
Say on, sayers! sing on, singers! Delve! mould! pile the words of the earth! Work on, age after age, nothing is to be lost, It may have to wait long, but it will certainly come in use, When the materials are all prepared and ready, the architects shall appear.
Something there is more immortal even than the stars, (Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,) something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter, longer than sun or any revolving satellite, or the radiant sisters the Pleiades.
The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless, it is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it, I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked, I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
Is this then a touch? quivering me to a new identity, flames and ether making a rush for my veins, treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them, my flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself, on all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs.
Let us twain walk aside from the rest; now we are together privately, do you discard ceremony, come! vouchsafe to me what has yet been vouchsafed to none—Tell me the whole story, tell me what you would not tell your brother, wife, husband, or physician.
My lovers suffocate me! Crowding my lips, and thick in the pores of my skin, Jostling me through streets and public halls... coming naked to me at night, Crying by day Ahoy from the rocks of the river... swinging and chirping over my head, Calling my name from flowerbeds or vines or tangled underbrush, Or while I swim in the bath....or drink from the pump on the corner... or the curtain is down at the opera... or I glimpse at a woman’s face in the railroad car; Lighting on every moment of my life, Bussing my body with soft and balsamic busses, Noiselessly passing handfuls out of their hearts and giving them to be mine.
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies, tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown, the flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining islands, the heights, the villas, the countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters, the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model'd, the down-town streets, the jobbers' houses of business, the houses of business of the ship-merchants and money-brokers, the river-streets, immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week, the carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses, the brown-faced sailors.
O the joy of the strong-brawn'd fighter, towering in the arena in perfect condition, conscious of power, thirsting to meet his opponent.
Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty breadth of the universe, old age flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom of death.
Over the tree-tops I float thee a song, over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the prairies wide, over the dense-packed cities all and the teeming wharves and ways, I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee, O death,
Scarlet, and blue, and snowy white, the guidon flags flutter gaily in the wind.
The beautiful uncut hair of graves.
It [baseball] will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.
Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
My own songs awakened from that hour, and with them the key, the word up from the waves, the word of the sweetest song and all songs, that strong and delicious word which, creeping to my feet, (Or like some old crone rocking the cradle, swathed in sweet garments, bending aside) the sea whispered me.
O amazement of things—even the least particle!
O the orator's joys! To inflate the chest, to roll the thunder of the voice out from the ribs and throat, to make the people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself, to lead America—to quell America with a great tongue.
On a flat road runs the well-trained runner, He is lean and sinewy with muscular legs, He is thinly clothed, he leans forward as he runs, With lightly closed fists and arms partially raised.
Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.