And what is life?
O manhood, balanced, florid and full.
They were the glory of the race of rangers, Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship, Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affectionate, Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters, Not a single one over thirty years of age.What behaved well in the past or behaves well to-day is not such wonder, The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel.Man or woman, I might tell how I like you, but cannot, And might tell what it is in me and what it is in you, but cannot, And might tell that pining I have, that pulse of my nights and days.That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be, A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.Somehow I have been stunn'd.Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the 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.I do not press my fingers across my mouth, I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart, Copulation is no more rank to me than death.My head slues round on my neck, Music rolls, but not from the organ, Folks are around me, but they are no household of mine.If our colors are struck and the fighting done?You my rich blood!Writing and talk do not prove me, I carry the plenum of proof and every thing else in my face, With the hush of my lips I wholly confound the skeptic.Creeds and schools in abeyance, Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy.The last scud of day holds back for me, It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds, It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.14 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 listening close, Find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry sky.Shaded ledges and rests it shall be you!The sky up there-yet here or next door, or across the way?
I am he that walks with the tender and growing night, I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night.
Partaker of influx and efflux I, extoller of hate and conciliation, Extoller of amies and those that sleep in each others' arms.
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And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.Now I see it is true, what I guess'd at, What I guess'd when I loaf'd on the grass, What I guess'd while I lay alone in my bed, And again as I walk'd the beach under the paling stars of the morning.Wider and wider they spread, expanding, always expanding, Outward and outward and forever outward.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.Have you practis'd so long to learn to read?Now I laugh content, for I hear the voice of my little captain, We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun our part of the fighting.Is he waiting for civilization, or past it and mastering it?