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, onthe turf or the sea-beach dancing,Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feeblenesschasing,Fulfilling our foray.
Love the earth and sun and animals, Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, Stand up for the stupid and crazy, Devote your income and labor to others... And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.
I believe in the flesh and the appetites, Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touched from, The scent of these armpits aroma finer than prayer, This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.
All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments. It is not the violins and the cornets-it is not the oboe nor the beating drums, nor the score of the baritone singer singing his sweet romanza-nor that of the women's chorus; it is nearer and farther than they.
Human bodies are words, myriads of words, (In the best poems re-appears the body, man's or woman's, well-shaped, natural, gay, Every part able, active, receptive, without shame or the need of shame.)
There is no place like it, no place with an atom of its glory, pride, and exultancy. It lays its hand upon a man's bowels; he grows drunk with ecstasy; he grows young and full of glory, he feels that he can never die.
A perfect writer would make words sing, dance, kiss, do the male and female act, bear children, weep, bleed, rage, stab, steal, fire cannon, steer ships, sack cities, charge with cavalry or infantry, or do anything that man or woman or the natural powers can do.
I open my scuttle at night and see the far-sprinkled systems, All all I see multiplied as high as I can cipher edge but the rim of the farther systems. Wider and wider they spread, expanding, always expanding, Outward and outward and forever outward.
A Song of the good green grass! A song no more of the city streets; A song of farms - a song of the soil of fields. A song with the smell of sun-dried hay, where the nimble pitchers handle the pitch-fork; A song tasting of new wheat, and of fresh-husk'd maize.
Lo! body and soul!--this land! Mighty Manhattan, with spires, and The sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships; The varied and ample land,--the South And the North in the light--Ohio's shores, and flashing Missouri, And ever the far-spreading prairies, covered with grass and corn.
An electric chain seems to vibrate, as it were, between our brain and him or her preserved there [in a Daguerreotype] so well by the limner's cunning. Time, space, both are annihilated, and we identify the semblance with the reality.
...of two simple men I saw today 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 kissed him. While the one to depart tightly pressed the one to remain in his arms.
Sail Forth- Steer for the deep waters only. Reckless O soul, exploring. I with thee and thou with me. For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared go. And we will risk the ship, ourselves, and all.
The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night, Ya-honk! he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation: The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listen closer, I find its purpose and place up there toward the November sky.
this is thy hour o soul, thy free flight into the wordless, away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best, night, sleep, death and the stars.
Silence? What can New York-noisy, roaring, rumbling, tumbling, bustling, story, turbulent New York-have to do with silence? Amid the universal clatter, the incessant din of business, the all swallowing vortex of the great money whirlpool-who has any, even distant, idea of the profound repose......of silence?
There's a man in the world who is never turned down, whatever he chances to stray; he gets the glad hand in the populous town, or out where the farmers makes hay; he's greeted with pleasure on deserts of sand, and deep in the aisles of the woods; wherever he goes there's a welcoming hand-he's the man who delivers the goods.
I see Hermes, unsuspected, dying, well-beloved, saying to the people, "Do not weep for me, This is not my true country, I have lived banished from my true country - I now go back there, I return to the celestial sphere where every one goes in his turn."
Everybody is writing, writing, writing - worst of all, writing poetry. It'd be better if the whole tribe of the scribblers - every damned one of us - were sent off somewhere with tool chests to do some honest work.
There was never any more inception than there is now, Nor any more youth or age than there is now; And will never be any more perfection than there is now, Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
To speak in literature with the perfect rectitude and insouciance of the movements of animals and the unimpeachable of the sentiment of trees in the woods and grass by the roadside is the flawless triumph of art.
Did you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name? I say democracy is only of use there that it may pass on and come to its flower and fruit in manners, in the highest forms of interaction between people, and their beliefs - in religion, literature, colleges and schools- democracy in all public and private life...
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road. Healthy, free, the world before me. The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose. Henceforth, I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune. Henceforth, I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.
Exact science and its practical movements are no checks on the greatest poet, but always his encouragement and support ... The sailor and traveller, the anatomist, chemist, astronomer, geologist, phrenologist, spiritualist, mathematician, historian and lexicographer are not poets, but they are the lawgivers of poets and their construction underlies the structure of every perfect poem.
Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself. It is not far. It is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.
In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd palings, Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green, with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love, With every leaf a miracle - and from this bush in the dooryard, With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green, A sprig with its flower I break.
O joy of suffering! To struggle against great odds! to meet enemies undaunted! To be entirely alone with them! to find how much one can stand! To look strife, torture, prison, popular odium, death, face to face! To mount the scaffold! to advance to the muzzles of guns with perfect nonchalance! To be indeed a God!
As to scenery (giving my own thought and feeling), while I know the standard claim is that Yosemite, Niagara Falls, the Upper Yellowstone and the like afford the greatest natural shows, I am not so sure but the prairies and plains, while less stunning at first sight, last longer, fill the esthetic sense fuller, precede all the rest, and make North America's characteristic landscape.
Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?
Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good steadily hastening towards immortality, And the vast all that is called Evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead.
The purpose of democracy - supplanting old belief in the necessary absoluteness of establish'd dynastic rulership, temporal, ecclesiastical, and scholastic, as furnishing the only security against chaos, crime, and ignorance - is, through many transmigrations, and amid endless ridicules, arguments, and ostensible failures
Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am, Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary, Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest, Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next, Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.
I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness.All seems beautiful to me.Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I loveIf you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.You will hardly know who I am or what I meanBut I shall be good health to you nonethelessAnd filter and fibre your blood.
TO the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little, Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after-ward resumes its liberty.
Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background, the countless minor scenes and interiors of the secession war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books.
Long have you timidly waded Holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, Rise again, nod to me, shout, And laughingly dash with your hair.
The female that loves unrequited sleeps, And the male that loves unrequited sleeps, The head of the money-maker that plotted all day sleeps, And the enraged and treacherous dispositions, all, all sleep.
You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin , or even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things.
Smile O voluptuous coolbreathed earth! Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees! Earth of departed sunset! Earth of the mountains misty-topt! Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue! Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! Far-swooping elbowed earth! Rich apple-blossomed earth! Smile, for your lover comes!
Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son, Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding, No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them, No more modest than immodest.
Love-buds, put before you and within you, whoever you are, Buds to be unfolded on the old terms; If you bring the warmth of the sun to them, they will open, and bring form, color, perfume, to you; If you become the aliment and the wet, they will become flowers, fruits, tall blanches and trees.
If there were nothing else of Abraham Lincoln for history to stamp him with, it is enough to send him with his wreath to the memory of all future time, that he endured that hour, that day, bitterer than gall - indeed a crucifixion day - that it did not conquer him - that he unflinchingly stemmed it, and resolved to lift himself and the Union out of it.
O YOU whom I often and silently come where you are, that I may be with you; As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the same room with you, Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.
A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and sky, Voice of a mighty dying tree in the Redwood forest dense.... [T]he wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years, to join the refrain; But in my soul I plainly heard. Murmuring out of its myriad leaves, Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high, Out of its stalwart trunk and limbsΒout of its foot-thick bark, That chant of the seasons and timeΒchant, not of the past only, but of the future...
A word of the faith that never balks,
Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time absolutely.
It alone is without flaw, it alone rounds and completes all,
That mystic baffling wonder alone completes all.
All truths wait in all things, They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it, They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon, The insignificant is as big to me as any, (What is less or more than a touch)...
And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,
And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,
And until one and all shall delight us, and we them.
As for me, I know 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 the trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love,
Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon...
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...
What stranger miracles are there?
At times it has been doubtful to me if Emerson really knows or feels what Poetry is at its highest, as in the Bible, for instance, or Homer or Shakspeare. I see he covertly or plainly likes best superb verbal polish, or something old or odd
Books are to be called for and supplied on the assumption that the process of reading is not a half-sleep, but in the highest sense an exercise, a gymnastic struggle; that the reader is to do something for himself.
I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise, Regardless of others, ever regardful of others, Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man, Stuffed with the stuff that is course, and stuffed with the stuff that is fine ...
I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate, compassionate, fully armed; I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold, And I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its translation.
I cannot too often repeat that Democracy is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawakened, notwithstanding the resonance and the many angry tempests out of which its syllables have come, from pen or tongue. It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten because that history has yet to be enacted.
I do not doubt but the majest and beauty of the world are latent
in any iota of the world;
I do not doubt there is far more in trivialities, insects,
vulgar persons, slaves, dwarfs, weeds, rejected refuse than
I have supposed.
I dreamed in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth; I dreamed that was the new City of Friends; Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust loveΒit led the rest; It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city, And in all their looks and words.
I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough, To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough, To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough, To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a momentΒwhat is this, then? I do not ask any more delightΒI swim in it, as in a sea.
I like the scientific spirit-the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine-it always keeps the way beyond open.
I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning, How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn'd over upon me, And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart, And reach'd till you felt my beard, and reach'd till you held my feet.
I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them,
And the white skeletons of young men-I saw them;
I saw the debris and debris of all the dead soldiers of the war;
But I saw they were not as was thought;
They themselves were fully at rest-they suffer'd not;
The living remain'd and suffer'd-the mother suffer'd,
And the wife and the child, and the musing comrade suffer'd,
And the armies that remain'd suffer'd.
I say no body of men are fit to make Presidents, judges and generals, unless they themselves supply the best specimens of the same; and that supplying one or two such specimens illuminates the whole body for a thousand years.
I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.
I see the President almost every day. I see very plainly Abraham Lincoln's dark brown face with its deep-cut lines, the eyes always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression. None of the artists or pictures has caught the deep, though subtle and indirect expression of this man's face. There is something else there. One of the great portrait painters of two or three centuries ago is needed.
I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
I was in the midst of it all - saw war where war is worst - not on the battlefields, no - in the hospitals ... there I mixed with it: and now I say God damn the wars - allw ars: God damn every war: God damn 'em! God damn 'em!
If the United States haven't grown poets, on any scale of grandeur, it is certain that they import, print, and read more poetry than any equal number of people elsewhere -- probably more than the rest of the world combined. Poetry (like a grand personality) is a growth of many generations -- many rare combinations. To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.
It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them. And perhaps it is the case that the greatest artists live and die, the world and themselves alike ignorant what they possess.
Joy, shipmate, joy! (Pleased to my soul at death I cry), Our life is closed, our life begins, The long, long anchorage we leave, The ship is clear at last, she leaps! She swiftly courses from the shore, Joy, shipmate, joy!
Lo, the most excellent sun so calm and haughty, The violet and purple morn with just-felt breezes, The gentle soft-born measureless light, The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfill'd noon, The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars, Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.
Manhattan streets with their powerful throbs, with beating drums as
The endless and noisy chorus, the rustle and clank of muskets, (even
the sight of the wounded,)
Manhattan crowds, with their turbulent musical chorus!
Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me.
More and more too, the old name absorbs into me. Mannahatta, 'the place encircled by many swift tides and sparkling waters.' How fit a name for America's great democratic island city! The word itself, how beautiful! how aboriginal! how it seems to rise with tall spires, glistening in sunshine, with such New World atmosphere, vista and action!
My rule has been, so far as I could have any rule (I could have no cast-iron rule) - my rule has been, to write what I have to say the best way I can - then lay it aside - taking it up again after some time and reading it afresh - the mind new to it. If there's no jar in the new reading, well and good - that's sufficient for me.
My spirit has pass'd in compassion and determination around the whole earth. I have look'd for equals and lovers an found them ready for me in all lands, I think some divine rapport has equalized me with them
Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)ΒScience, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the worldΒa sun, mounting, most illuminating, most gloriousΒsurely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.
Now I will do nothing but listen to accrue what I hear into this song. To let sounds contribute toward it. I hear the sound I love. The sound of the human voice. I hear all sounds running together.
O Earth, that hast no voice, confide to me a voice!
O harvest of my lands! O boundless summer growths!
O lavish, brown, parturient earth! O infinite, teeming womb!
A verse to seek, to see, to narrate thee.
Once I passed 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 detained me for love of me, Day by day and night by night we were togetherΒall 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.
Our leading men are not of much account and never have been, but the average of the people is immense, beyond all history. Sometimes I think in all departments, literature and art included, that will be the way our superiority will exhibit itself. We will not have great individuals or great leaders, but a great average bulk, unprecedentedly great.