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when you come upon me - ah you are here

Give me now libidinous joys only,

Give me the drench of my passions, give me life coarse and rank, To-day I go consort with Nature's darlings, to-night too,

I am for those who believe in loose delights, I share the midnight

orgies of young men,

I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers,

The echoes ring with our indecent calls, I pick out some low person for my dearest friend,

He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate, he shall be one condemn'd by others for deeds done,

I will play a part no longer, why should I exile myself from my companions?

O you shunn'd persons, I at least do not shun you,
I come forthwith in your midst, I will be your poet,
I will be more to you than to any of the rest.

ONCE I PASS'D THROUGH A POPULOUS CITY. ONCE I pass'd 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 detain'd 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.

I HEARD YOU SOLEMN-SWEET PIPES OF THE ORGAN. I HEARD you solemn-sweet pipes of the organ as last Sunday morn I pass'd the church,

Winds of autumn, as I walk'd the woods at dusk I heard your long-stretch'd sighs up above so mournful,

I heard the perfect Italian tenor singing at the opera, I heard the soprano in the midst of the quartet singing;

Heart of my love! you too I heard murmuring low through one of the wrists around my head,

Heard the pulse of you when all was still ringing little bells last night under my ear.


FACING west from California's shores,

Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,

I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,

Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled; For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kash


From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the


From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands, Long having wander'd since, round the earth having wander'd, Now I face home again, very pleas'd and joyous,

(But where is what I started for so long ago?

And why is it yet unfound?)


As Adam early in the morning,

Walking forth from the bower refresh'd with sleep,
Behold me where I pass, hear my voice, approach,

Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass,
Be not afraid of my body.



IN paths untrodden,

In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,

From all the standards hitherto publish'd, from the pleasures, profits, conformities,

Which too long I was offering to feed my soul,

Clear to me now standards not yet publish'd, clear to me that my


That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades,

Here by myself away from the clank of the world,

Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic,

No longer abash'd, (for in this secluded spot I can respond as I would not dare elsewhere,)

Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains all the rest,

Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment, Projecting them along that substantial life,

Bequeathing hence types of athletic love,

Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first year,
I proceed for all who are or have been young men,
To tell the secret of my nights and days,

To celebrate the need of comrades.


SCENTED herbage of my breast,

Leaves from you I glean, I write, to be perused best afterwards, Tomb-leaves, body-leaves growing up above me above death, Perennial roots, tall leaves, O the winter shall not freeze you delicate leaves,

Every year shall you bloom again, out from where you retired you shall emerge again;

OI do not know whether many passing by will discover you or inhale your faint odor, but I believe a few will ;

O slender leaves ! O blossoms of my blood! I permit you to tell in your own way of the heart that is under you,

OI do not know what you mean there underneath yourselves, you are not happiness,

You are often more bitter than I can bear, you burn and sting me, Yet you are beautiful to me you faint tinged roots, you make me

think of death,

Death is beautiful from you, (what indeed is finally beautiful except death and love?)

OI think it is not for life I am chanting here my chant of lovers, I think it must be for death,

For how calm, how solemn it grows to ascend to the atmosphere of lovers,

Death or life I am then indifferent, my soul declines to prefer, (I am not sure but the high soul of lovers welcomes death most,) Indeed O death, I think now these leaves mean precisely the same

as you mean,

Grow up taller sweet leaves that I may see! grow up out of my


Spring away from the conceal'd heart there!

Do not fold yourself so in your pink-tinged roots timid leaves !

Do not remain down there so ashamed, herbage of my breast! Come I am determin'd to unbare this broad breast of mine, I have long enough stifled and choked;

Emblematic and capricious blades I leave you, now you serve me not,

I will say what I have to say by itself,

I will sound myself and comrades only, I will never again utter a call only their call,

I will raise with it immortal reverberations through the States, I will give an example to lovers to take permanent shape and will through the States,

Through me shall the words be said to make death exhilarating, Give me your tone therefore O death, that I may accord with it, Give me yourself, for I see that you belong to me now above all,

and are folded inseparably together, you love and death are, Nor will I allow you to balk me any more with what I was calling life, For now it is convey'd to me that you are the purports essential, That you hide in these shifting forms of life, for reasons, and that they are mainly for you,

That you beyond them come forth to remain, the real reality, That behind the mask of materials you patiently wait, no matter how long,

That you will one day perhaps take control of all,

That you will perhaps dissipate this entire show of appearance, That may-be you are what it is all for, but it does not last so very long,


you will last very long.


WHOEVER you are holding me now in hand,

Without one thing all will be useless,

I give you fair warning before you attempt me further,

I am not what you supposed, but far different.

Who is he that would become my follower?
Who would sign himself a candidate for my


The way is suspicious, the result uncertain, perhaps destructive, You would have to give up all else, I alone would expect to be your sole and exclusive standard,

Your novitiate would even then be long and exhausting,

The whole past theory of your life and all conformity to the lives around you would have to be abandon'd,

Therefore release me now before troubling yourself any further, let go your hand from my shoulders,

Put me down and depart on your way.

Or else by stealth in some wood for trial,

Or back of a rock in the open air,

(For in any roof'd room of a house I emerge not, nor in company,

And in libraries I lie as one dumb, a gawk, or unborn, or dead,) But just possibly with you on a high hill, first watching lest any person for miles around approach unawares,

Or possibly with you sailing at sea, or on the beach of the sea or some quiet island,

Here to put your lips upon mine I permit you,

With the comrade's long-dwelling kiss or the new husband's kiss, For I am the new husband and I am the comrade.

Or if you will, thrusting me beneath your clothing,

Where I may feel the throbs of your heart or rest upon your hip,

Carry me when you go forth over land or sea;

For thus merely touching you is enough, is best,

And thus touching you would I silently sleep and be carried eternally.

But these leaves conning you con at peril,

For these leaves and me you will not understand,

They will elude you at first and still more afterward, I will

certainly elude you.

Even while you should think you had unquestionably caught me, behold!

Already you see I have escaped from you.

For it is not for what I have put into it that I have written this book,

Nor is it by reading it you will acquire it,

Nor do those know me best who admire me and vauntingly praise


Nor will the candidates for my love (unless at most a very few)

prove victorious,

Nor will my poems do good only, they will do just as much evil,

perhaps more,

For all is useless without that which you may guess at many times and not hit, that which I hinted at;

Therefore release me and depart on your way.

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