Daily Whitman


A Song for Occupations

  The sun and stars that float in the open air,
  The apple-shaped earth and we upon it, surely the drift of them is
      something grand,
  I do not know what it is except that it is grand, and that it is happiness,
  And that the enclosing purport of us here is not a speculation or
      bon-mot or reconnoissance,
  And that it is not something which by luck may turn out well for us,
      and without luck must be a failure for us,
  And not something which may yet be retracted in a certain contingency.

  The light and shade, the curious sense of body and identity, the
      greed that with perfect complaisance devours all things,
  The endless pride and outstretching of man, unspeakable joys and sorrows,
  The wonder every one sees in every one else he sees, and the wonders
      that fill each minute of time forever,
  What have you reckon'd them for, camerado?
  Have you reckon'd them for your trade or farm-work? or for the
      profits of your store?
  Or to achieve yourself a position? or to fill a gentleman's leisure,
      or a lady's leisure?

  Have you reckon'd that the landscape took substance and form that it
      might be painted in a picture?
  Or men and women that they might be written of, and songs sung?
  Or the attraction of gravity, and the great laws and harmonious combinations
      and the fluids of the air, as subjects for the savans?
  Or the brown land and the blue sea for maps and charts?
  Or the stars to be put in constellations and named fancy names?
  Or that the growth of seeds is for agricultural tables, or
      agriculture itself?

  Old institutions, these arts, libraries, legends, collections, and
      the practice handed along in manufactures, will we rate them so high?
  Will we rate our cash and business high? I have no objection,
  I rate them as high as the highest—then a child born of a woman and
      man I rate beyond all rate.

  We thought our Union grand, and our Constitution grand,
  I do not say they are not grand and good, for they are,
  I am this day just as much in love with them as you,
  Then I am in love with You, and with all my fellows upon the earth.

  We consider bibles and religions divine—I do not say they are not divine,
  I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out of you still,
  It is not they who give the life, it is you who give the life,
  Leaves are not more shed from the trees, or trees from the earth,
      than they are shed out of you.

Posted on 22/10/2014, in literature, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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