Unfolded out of the Folds
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman man comes unfolded, and is always to come unfolded, Unfolded only out of the superbest woman of the earth is to come the superbest man of the earth, Unfolded out of the friendliest woman is to come the friendliest man, Unfolded only out of the perfect body of a woman can a man be form'd of perfect body, Unfolded only out of the inimitable poems of woman can come the poems of man, (only thence have my poems come;) Unfolded out of the strong and arrogant woman I love, only thence can appear the strong and arrogant man I love, Unfolded by brawny embraces from the well-muscled woman love, only thence come the brawny embraces of the man, Unfolded out of the folds of the woman's brain come all the folds of the man's brain, duly obedient, Unfolded out of the justice of the woman all justice is unfolded, Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all sympathy; A man is a great thing upon the earth and through eternity, but every of the greatness of man is unfolded out of woman; First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be shaped in himself.
To a Pupil
Is reform needed? is it through you? The greater the reform needed, the greater the Personality you need to accomplish it. You! do you not see how it would serve to have eyes, blood, complexion, clean and sweet? Do you not see how it would serve to have such a body and soul that when you enter the crowd an atmosphere of desire and command enters with you, and every one is impress'd with your Personality? O the magnet! the flesh over and over! Go, dear friend, if need be give up all else, and commence to-day to inure yourself to pluck, reality, self-esteem, definiteness, elevatedness, Rest not till you rivet and publish yourself of your own Personality.
Sparkles from the Wheel
Where the city's ceaseless crowd moves on the livelong day, Withdrawn I join a group of children watching, I pause aside with them. By the curb toward the edge of the flagging, A knife-grinder works at his wheel sharpening a great knife, Bending over he carefully holds it to the stone, by foot and knee, With measur'd tread he turns rapidly, as he presses with light but firm hand, Forth issue then in copious golden jets, Sparkles from the wheel. The scene and all its belongings, how they seize and affect me, The sad sharp-chinn'd old man with worn clothes and broad shoulder-band of leather, Myself effusing and fluid, a phantom curiously floating, now here absorb'd and arrested, The group, (an unminded point set in a vast surrounding,) The attentive, quiet children, the loud, proud, restive base of the streets, The low hoarse purr of the whirling stone, the light-press'd blade, Diffusing, dropping, sideways-darting, in tiny showers of gold, Sparkles from the wheel.
Why, who makes much of a miracle? As to me I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, Or sit at table at dinner with the rest, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring; These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place. To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every cubic inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every foot of the interior swarms with the same. To me the sea is a continual miracle, The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
Of persons arrived at high positions, ceremonies, wealth, scholarships, and the like; (To me all that those persons have arrived at sinks away from them, except as it results to their bodies and souls, So that often to me they appear gaunt and naked, And often to me each one mocks the others, and mocks himself or herself, And of each one the core of life, namely happiness, is full of the rotten excrement of maggots, And often to me those men and women pass unwittingly the true realities of life, and go toward false realities, And often to me they are alive after what custom has served them, but nothing more, And often to me they are sad, hasty, unwaked sonnambules walking the dusk.)
I Was Looking a Long While
I was looking a long while for Intentions, For a clew to the history of the past for myself, and for these chants—and now I have found it, It is not in those paged fables in the libraries, (them I neither accept nor reject,) It is no more in the legends than in all else, It is in the present—it is this earth to-day, It is in Democracy—(the purport and aim of all the past,) It is the life of one man or one woman to-day—the average man of to-day, It is in languages, social customs, literatures, arts, It is in the broad show of artificial things, ships, machinery, politics, creeds, modern improvements, and the interchange of nations, All for the modern—all for the average man of to-day.
To a Common Prostitute
Be composed—be at ease with me—I am Walt Whitman, liberal and lusty as Nature, Not till the sun excludes you do I exclude you, Not till the waters refuse to glisten for you and the leaves to rustle for you, do my words refuse to glisten and rustle for you. My girl I appoint with you an appointment, and I charge you that you make preparation to be worthy to meet me, And I charge you that you be patient and perfect till I come. Till then I salute you with a significant look that you do not forget me.
Laws for Creations
Laws for creations, For strong artists and leaders, for fresh broods of teachers and perfect literats for America, For noble savans and coming musicians. All must have reference to the ensemble of the world, and the compact truth of the world, There shall be no subject too pronounced—all works shall illustrate the divine law of indirections. What do you suppose creation is? What do you suppose will satisfy the soul, except to walk free and own no superior? What do you suppose I would intimate to you in a hundred ways, but that man or woman is as good as God? And that there is no God any more divine than Yourself? And that that is what the oldest and newest myths finally mean? And that you or any one must approach creations through such laws?