Leaves of Grass.
The strong sweet supple quality he has strikes through the cotton and flannel;
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem .. perhaps more,
You linger to see his back and the back of his neck and shoulderside.
The sprawl and fulness of babes .... the bosoms and heads of women .... the folds of their dress .... their style as we pass in the street .... the contour of their shape downwards;
The swimmer naked in the swimmingbath .. seen as he swims through the salt transparent greenshine, or lies on his back and rolls silently with the heave of the water;
Framers bare-armed framing a house .. hoisting the beams in their places .. or using the mallet and mortising-chisel,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in rowboats .... the horseman in his saddle;
Girls and mothers and housekeepers in all their exquisite offices,
The group of laborers seated at noontime with their open dinnerkettles, and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child .... the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cowyard,
The woodman rapidly swinging his axe in the woods .... the young fellow hoeing corn .... the sleighdriver guiding his six horses through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers .. two apprenticesboys, quite grown, lusty, goodnatured, nativeborn, out on the vacant lot at sundown after work,
The coats vests and caps thrown down .. the embrace of love and resistance,
The upperhold and underhold – the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes – the play of the masculine muscle through cleansetting trowsers and waistbands,
The slow return from the fire .... the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again – the listening on the alert,
The natural perfect and varied attitudes .... the bent head, the curved neck, the counting:
Suchlike I love .... I loosen myself and pass freely .... and am at the mother’s breast with the little child,
And swim with the swimmer, and wrestle with wrestlers, and march in line with the firemen, and pause and listen and count.
I knew a man .... he was a common farmer .... he was the father of five sons... and in them were the fathers of sons ... and in them were the fathers of sons.
This man was of wonderful vigor and calmness and beauty of person;
The shape of his head, the richness and breadth of his manners, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard, the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes,
These I used to go and visit him to see .... He was wise also,
He was six feet tall .... he was over eighty years old .... his sons were massive clean bearded tanfaced and handsome,