Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass Quotes
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.
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering... these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love... these are what we stay alive for.
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
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 façade—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?.
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.
I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me. Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.
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.
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.
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?.
re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and 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. [From the preface to Leaves Grass].
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.
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.
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.
I believe in the flesh and the appetites; Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from; The scent of these arm-pits, aroma finer than prayer; This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
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.
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.
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;.
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.
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.
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.
I sing the body electric, The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them, They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them, And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
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...
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.
Press close, bare-bosomed Night! Press close, magnetic, nourishing Night! Night of south winds! Night of the large, few stars! Still, nodding Night! Mad, naked, Summer Night! from Strophe 21, "Song of Myself.
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!.
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.
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.
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. Do you take it I would astonish? Does the daylight astonish? does the early redstart twittering through the woods? Do I astonish more than they? This hour I tell things in confidence, I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.
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.
There was a child went forth every day, And the first object he looked upon, that object he became...
I do not ask who you are, that is not important to me, You can do nothing and be nothing but what I will infold you.
WOMEN sit, or move to and fro — some old, some young; The young are beautiful — but the old are more beautiful than the young.
Why should I be afraid to trust myself to you? I am not afraid, I have been well brought forward by you...
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.
To know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for traveling souls." -from "Song of the Open Road.
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.
Solitary the thrush, The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements, Sings by himself a song. Song of the bleeding throat!.