Daily Whitman

ancient-wrestling1

I Sing the Body Electric

2
  The love of the body of man or woman balks account, the body itself
      balks account,
  That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.

  The expression of the face balks account,
  But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
  It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of
      his hips and wrists,
  It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist
      and knees, dress does not hide him,
  The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
  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 shoulder-side.

  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 swimming-bath, seen as he swims through
      the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls
      silently to and from the heave of the water,
  The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats, the
      horse-man in his saddle,
  Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
  The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open
      dinner-kettles, and their wives waiting,
  The female soothing a child, the farmer's daughter in the garden or
      cow-yard,
  The young fellow hosing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six
      horses through the crowd,
  The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty,
      good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sundown after work,
  The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
  The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
  The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine
      muscle through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,
  The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes
      suddenly again, and the listening on the alert,
  The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv'd
      neck and the counting;
  Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother's
      breast with the little child,
  Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line with
      the firemen, and pause, listen, count.

Posted on 17/06/2014, in literature, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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