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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

THE QUOTABLE LEAVES OF GRASS



That I have not gain'd the acceptance of my own time, but have fallen back on fond dreams of the future..

TO THE SUNSET BREEZE.
AH, whispering, something again, unseen,
Where late this heated day thou enterest at my window, door,
Thou, laving, tempering all, cool-freshing, gently vitalizing
Me, old, alone, sick, weak-down, melted-worn with sweat;
Thou, nestling, folding close and firm yet soft, companion better than
talk, book, art,
(Thou hast, O Nature! elements! utterance to my heart beyond the
rest—and this is of them,)
So sweet thy primitive taste to breathe within—thy soothing fingers on
my face and hands,
Thou, messenger-magical strange bringer to body and spirit of me,
(Distances balk'd—occult medicines penetrating me from head to foot.)
I feel the sky, the prairies vast—I feel the mighty northern lakes,
I feel the ocean and the forest—somehow I feel the globe itself swift-
swimming in space;
Thou blown from lips so loved, now gone—haply from endless store,
God sent,
(For thou art spiritual, Godly, most of all known to my sense,)
Minister to speak to me, here and now, what word has never told, and
cannot tell,
Art thou not universal concrete's distillation? Law's, all Astronomy's
last refinement?
Hast thou no soul? Can I not know, identify thee?
Walt Whitman.


Resist much, obey little.

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.

Do anything, but let it produce joy.

Peace is always beautiful.

Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.

And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles

O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.


I am satisfied ... I see, dance, laugh, sing.

If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.

Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light
and of every moment of your life

 Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning - I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this fa├žade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?


Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.


I am too not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.


O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up - for you the flag is flung - for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths - for you the shores
a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage 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.

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun.... there are millions of suns left,
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand.... nor look through the eyes of the dead.... nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.
Your very flesh shall be a great poem...






Loafe with me on the grass—loose the stop from your throat;
Not words, not music or rhyme I want—not custom or lecture, not even the best;
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.  
Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?
 I will sleep no more but arise, You oceans that have been calm within me! how I feel you, fathomless, stirring, preparing unprecedented waves and storms.

I accept Time absolutely.
It alone is without flaw,
It alone rounds and completes all,
That mystic baffling wonder.

 If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good help to you nevertheless
And filter and fiber your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you

All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough...the fact will prevail through the universe...but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. 
This is what you shall so: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to eVery one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body...

I will You, in all, Myself, with promise to never desert you,
To which I sign my name.

The question, O me! so sad, recurring -
What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here - that life
exists and identity,
that the powerful play goes on,
and you may contribute a verse.


Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass,
Be not afraid of my body.
 Agonies are one of my changes of garments.
 Clear and sweet is my soul, clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.
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 savans--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;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The 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?


storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning,
Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing,
I tread day and night such roads.


I am large, I contain multitudes

 This is what you shall do: Love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, reexamine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.
I refuse putting from me the best that I am.

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.
Unscrew the locks from the doors !
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs !  


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.

Copulation is no more foul to me than death is.

I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or
wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

You have not known what you are--you have slumber'd upon yourself all your life;
Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time;
What you have done returns already in mockeries;
Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?
The mockeries are not you;
Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk;



For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend, Pioneers! O pioneers!  

 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

Do you guess I have some intricate purpose?
Well I have, for the Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has.

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 together—all 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.

The sum of all known value and respect, I add up in you, whoever you are.


Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass;
I find letters from God dropped in the street, and every one is signed by God's name,
And I leave them where they are,
for I know that others will punctually come forever and ever.


The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe, and am not contained between my hat and my boots,

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?


not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo,
The hundred & fifty are dumb yet at Alamo.


On the Meaning of life:
 Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.



This is the female form, vapor,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heavaen or fear'd of hell, are now consumed, Mad filament, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable...






Only themselves understand themselves and the like of themselves,
As souls only understand souls.

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.

Of Equality--as if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself--as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.


All music is what awakes within us
when we are reminded by the instruments;
It is not the violins or the clarinets -
It is not the beating of the drums -
Nor the score of the baritone singing
his sweet romanza; not that of the men's chorus,
Nor that of the women's chorus -
It is nearer and farther than they

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.

I wear my hat as I please, indoors or out.

The American bards shall be marked for generosity and affection and for encouraging competitors… . The great poets are also to be known by the absence in them of tricks and by the justification of perfect personal candor… . How beautiful is candor! All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.

When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv’d with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow’d,
And else when I carous’d, or when my plans were accomplish’d, still I was not happy,
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh’d, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,
When I wander’d alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast – and that night I was happy.


I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it
should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank
or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work,
or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his
boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat
deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the
hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his
way in the morning, or at noon intermission
or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the
young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or
washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to
none else,
The day what belongs to the day — at night the
party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious
songs.


O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

I swear I will never mention love or death inside a house,
And I swear I never will translate myself at all, only to him or her who privately stays with me in the open air.

I think I will do nothing for a long time but listen,
And accrue what I hear into myself...and let sound contribute toward me.

Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.

I swear I begin to see the meaning of these things. It is not the earth, it is not America, who is so great, it is I who am great or to be great…

Give me such shows--give me the streets of Manhattan!
Sun so generous it shall be you- Leaves of Grass

WHAT am I, after all, but a child, pleas’d with the sound of my own name? repeating it over and over;
I stand apart to hear—it never tires me.
To you, your name also;
Did you think there was nothing but two or three pronunciations in the sound of your name?

When I Read the Book
When I read the book, the biography famous,
And is this then (said I) what the author calls a man's life?
And so will some one when I am dead and gone write my life?
(As if any man really knew aught of my life,
Why even I myself I often think know little or nothing of my real life,
Only a few hints, a few diffused faint clews and indirections
I seek for my own use to trace out here.)

  


Be composed--be at ease with me--I am Walt Whitman, liberal and lusty as Nature, Not till the sun excludes you do I exclude you, Not till the waters refuse to glisten for you and the leaves to rustle for you, do my words refuse to glisten and rustle for you.  

A blade of grass is the journeywork of the stars


Solitary the thrush,
The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the
settlements,
Sings by himself a song.

...the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

Give me solitude — give me Nature — give me again, O Nature, your primal sanities!

Now understand me well--it is provided in the essence of things that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary.

Thought
Of equality- as if it harm'd me,
giving others the same chances
and rights as myself-
as if it were not indispensable
to my own rights
that others possess the same.

One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself, / And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten / million years, / I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait.
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with such applause in the lecture room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

One's-Self I Sing
One's-self I sing, a simple separate person,
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.
Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say
the Form complete is worthier far,
The Female equally with the Male I sing.
Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I sing.



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