Leaves of Grass.
I sound triumphal drums for the dead .... I fling through my embouchures the loudest and gayest music to them,
Vivas to those who have failed, and to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea, and those themselves who sank in the sea,
And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes, and the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known.
This is the meal pleasantly set .... this is the meat and drink for natural hunger,
It is for the wicked just the same as the righteous .... I make appointments with all,
I will not have a single person slighted or left away,
The keptwoman and sponger and thief are hereby invited .... the heavy-lipped slave is invited .... the venerealee is invited,
There shall be no difference between them and the rest.
This is the press of a bashful hand .... this is the float and odor of hair,
This is the touch of my lips to yours .... this is the murmur of yearning,
This is the far-off depth and height reflecting my own face,
This is the thoughtful merge of myself and the outlet again.
Do you guess I have some intricate purpose?
Well I have .... for the April rain has, and the mica on the side of a rock has.
Do you take it I would astonish?
Does the daylight astonish? or 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.
Who goes there! hankering, gross, mystical, nude?
How is it I extract strength from the beef I eat?
What is a man anyhow? What am I? and what are you?
All I mark as my own you shall offset it with your own,
Else it were time lost listening to me.
I do not snivel that snivel the world over,
That months are vacuums and the ground but wallow and filth,
That life is a suck and a sell, and nothing remains at the end but threadbare crape and tears.
Whimpering and truckling fold with powders for invalids .... conformity goes to the fourth-removed,
I cock my hat as I please indoors or out.
Shall I pray? Shall I venerate and be ceremonious?