Page:Leaves of Grass (1855).djvu/85

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Leaves of Grass.


They and his daughters loved him ... all who saw him loved him ... they did not love him by allowance ... they loved him with personal love;
He drank water only .... the blood showed like scarlet through the clear brown skin of his face;
He was a frequent gunner and fisher ... he sailed his boat himself ... he had a fine one presented to him by a shipjoiner .... he had fowling-pieces, presented to him by men that loved him;
When he went with his five sons and many grandsons to hunt or fish you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang,
You would wish long and long to be with him .... you would wish to sit by him in the boat that you and he might touch each other.

I have perceived that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful curious breathing laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them .. to touch any one .... to rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment .... what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight .... I swim in it as in a sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them and in the contact and odor of them that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

This is the female form,
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 .. the atmosphere and the fringed clouds .. what was expected of heaven or feared of hell are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it .. the response likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands – all diffused .... mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow, and flow stung by the ebb .... loveflesh swelling and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous .... quivering jelly of love ... whiteblow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom-night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweetfleshed day.

This is the nucleus ... after the child is born of woman the man is born of woman,
This is the bath of birth ... this is the merge of small and large and the outlet again.