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Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable,

Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all dif fused, mine too diffused,

Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching,

Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice,

Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,

Undulating into the willing and yielding day,

Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh'd day.

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This the nucleus after the child is born of woman, man is born of woman,

This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the outlet again.

Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest,

You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.

The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,

She is all things duly veil'd, she is both passive and active,

She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters.

As I see my soul reflected in Nature,

As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness, sanity, beauty,

See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female

I see.

6

The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place,
He too is all qualities, he is action and power,

The flush of the known universe is in him,

Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him

well,

The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost become him well, pride is for him,

The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul, Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing to the test of himself,

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Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail he strikes soundings at last only here,

(Where else does he strike soundings except here?)

The man's body is sacred and the woman's body is sacred,

No matter who it is, it is sacred — is it the meanest one in the laborers' gang?

Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf ? Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,

Each has his or her place in the procession.

(All is a procession,

The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)

Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant? Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she has no right to a sight?

Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float, and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts,

For you only, and not for him and her?

7

A man's body at auction,

(For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch the sale,)

I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his business.

Gentlemen look on this wonder,

Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough for it, For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without one animal or plant,

For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll'd.

In this head the all-baffling brain,

In it and below it the makings of heroes.

Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in tendon and nerve,

They shall be stript that you may see them.

Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,

Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh not flabby, good-sized arms and legs,

And wonders within there yet.

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Within there runs blood,

The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings,

aspirations,

(Do you think they are not there because they are not express'd in parlors and lecture-rooms?)

This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers in their turns,

In him the start of populous states and rich republics,

Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments.

How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring through the centuries?

(Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you could trace back through the centuries?)

8

A woman's body at auction,

She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of mothers, She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the mothers.

Have you ever loved the body of a woman?

Have you ever loved the body of a man?

Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations and times all over the earth?

If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred,

And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,

And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more beautiful than the most beautiful face.

Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body? For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.

9

O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women, nor the likes of the parts of you,

I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul, (and that they are the soul,)

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I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems, and that they are my poems,

Man's, woman's, child's, youth's, wife's, husband's, mother's, father's, young man's, young woman's poems,

Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,

Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking or sleeping of the lids,

Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jawhinges,

Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,

Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neckslue,

Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the ample side-round of the chest, Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm

bones,

Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger, finger-joints, finger-nails,

Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast

side,

Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,

Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, manballs, man-root,

Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;

All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body or of any one's body, male or female,

The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes

from woman,

The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,

The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and

tightening,

The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the

eyes,

The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,

The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,

The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,

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The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees,

The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow in the bones,

The exquisite realization of health;

OI say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,

OI say now these are the soul !

A WOMAN WAITS FOR ME.

A WOMAN waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,

Yet all were lacking if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of the right man were lacking.

Sex contains all, bodies, souls,

Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal
milk,

All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the earth,

All the governments, judges, gods, follow'd persons of the earth, These are contain'd in sex as parts of itself and justifications of itself.

Without shame the man I like knows and avows the deliciousness of his sex,

Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

Now I will dismiss myself from impassive women,

I will go stay with her who waits for me, and with those women that are warm-blooded and sufficient for me,

I see that they understand me and do not deny me,

I see that they are worthy of me, I will be the robust husband of those women.

They are not one jot less than I am,

They are tann'd in the face by shining suns and blowing winds,
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,

They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run, strike,
retreat, advance, resist, defend themselves,
They are ultimate in their own right they are calm, clear, well-
possess'd of themselves.

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