Leaves of Grass.
The well-taken photographs .... but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms?
The fleet of ships of the line and all the modern improvements .... but the craft and pluck of the admiral?
The dishes and fare and furniture .... but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes?
The sky up there .... yet here or next door or across the way?
The saints and sages in history .... but you yourself?
Sermons and creeds and theology .... but the human brain, and what is called reason, and what is called love, and what is called life?
I do not despise you priests;
My faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths,
Enclosing all worship ancient and modern, and all between ancient and modern,
Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five thousand years,
Waiting responses from oracles .... honoring the gods .... saluting the sun,
Making a fetish of the first rock or stump .... powowing with sticks in the circle of obis,
Helping the lama or brahmin as he trims the lamps of the idols,
Dancing yet through the streets in a phallic procession .... rapt and austere in the woods, a gymnosophist,
Drinking mead from the skull-cup .... to shasta and vedas admirant .... minding the koran,
Walking the teokallis, spotted with gore from the stone and knife – beating the serpent-skin drum;
Accepting the gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing assuredly that he is divine,
To the mass kneeling – to the puritan’s prayer rising – sitting patiently in a pew,
Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis – waiting dead-like till my spirit arouses me;
Looking forth on pavement and land, and outside of pavement and land,
Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits.
One of that centripetal and centrifugal gang,
I turn and talk like a man leaving charges before a journey.
Down-hearted doubters, dull and excluded,
Frivolous sullen moping angry affected disheartened atheistical,
I know every one of you, and know the unspoken interrogatories,
By experience I know them.
How the flukes splash!
How they contort rapid as lightning, with spasms and spouts of blood!
Be at peace bloody flukes of doubters and sullen mopers,
I take my place among you as much as among any;