Leaves of Grass.
The face of am amour .... the face of veneration,
The face as of a dream .... the face of an immobile rock,
The face withdrawn of its good and bad .. a castrated face,
A wild hawk .. his wings clipped by the clipper,
A stallion that yielded at last to the thongs and knife of the gelder.
Sauntering the pavement or crossing the ceaseless ferry, here then are faces;
I see them and complain not and am content with all.
Do you suppose I could be content with all if I thought them their own finale?
This now is too lamentable a face for a man;
Some abject louse asking leave to be .. cringing for it,
Some milknosed maggot blessing what lets it wrig to its hole.
This face is a dog’s snout sniffing for garbage;
Snakes nest in that mouth .. I hear the sibilant threat.
This face is a haze more chill than the arctic sea,
Its sleepy and wobbling icebergs crunch as they go.
This is a face of bitter herbs .... this an emetic .... they need no label,
And more of the drugshelf .. laudanum, caoutchoue, or hog’s lard.
This face is an epilepsy advertising and doing business .... its wordless tongue gives out the unearthly cry,
Its veins down the neck distend .... its eyes roll till they show nothing but their whites,
Its teeth grit .. the palms of the hands are cut by the turned-in nails,
The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground while he speculates well.
This face is bitten by vermin and worms,
And this is some murderer’s knife with a halfpulled scabbard.
This face owes to the sexton his dismalest fee,
An unceasing deathbell tolls there.
Those are really men! .... the bosses and tufts of the great round globe!
Features of my equals, would you trick me with your creased and cadaverous march?
Well then you cannot trick me.
I see your rounded never-erased flow,
I see neath the rims of your haggard and mean disguises.