The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,.
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The sickness of one of my folks, or of myself, or ill-doing, or loss or lack of money, or depress- ions or exaltations,. They come to me days and nights and go from me again,. Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,. Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,. Looks down, is erect, bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,. Looks with its side-curved head, curious what will come next,. Both in and out of the game, and watching and wondering at it.
Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders,. I have no mockings or arguments—I witness and wait. I believe in you, my soul—the other I am must not abase itself to you,. Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,.
Not words, not music or rhyme I want—not cus- tom or lecture, not even the best,. I mind how we lay in June, such a transparent summer morning,. You settled your head athwart my hips, and gently turned over upon me,. And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,. And reached till you felt my beard, and reached till you held my feet.
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Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and joy and knowledge that pass all the art and argument of the earth,. And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,.
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,. And that all the men ever born are also my bro- thers, and the women my sisters and lovers,. And limitless are leaves, stiff or drooping in the fields,. And mossy scabs of the worm-fence, heaped stones, elder, mullen, pokeweed. A child said, What is the grass? How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.
A scented gift and remembrancer, designedly dropped,.
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Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose? Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,. And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves. It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,. It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,.
It may be you are from old people, and from women, and from offspring taken soon out of their mothers' laps,. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,. Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing. I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,. And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.
What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children?
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,. And if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,. And to die is different from what any one sup- posed, and luckier. I hasten to inform him or her, it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.
I pass death with the dying, and birth with the new-washed babe, and am not contained be- tween my hat and boots,. And peruse manifold objects, no two alike, and every one good,. The earth good, and the stars good, and their ad- juncts all good. I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself;.
Every kind for itself and its own—for me mine, male and female,. For me those that have been boys and that love women,. For me the man that is proud, and feels how it stings to be slighted,. For me the sweetheart and the old maid—for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,. For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,. I see through the broadcloth and gingham, whether or no,. And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and can never be shaken away. I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand. The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,.
The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,. It is so—I witnessed the corpse—there the pistol had fallen. The blab of the pave, the tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,. The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogat- ing thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,. The snow-sleighs, the clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls,.
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of roused mobs,. The flap of the curtained litter, the sick man in- side, borne to the hospital,. The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,.
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The excited crowd, the policeman with his star, quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,. The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,. The souls moving along—are they invisible, while the least of the stones is visible? What groans of over-fed or half-starved who fall sun-struck, or in fits,.
What exclamations of women taken suddenly, who hurry home and give birth to babes,.
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What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrained by decorum,. Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,. I mind them or the resonance of them—I come and I depart.
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