Daily Whitman


A Song for Occupations

  Will the whole come back then?
  Can each see signs of the best by a look in the looking-glass? is
      there nothing greater or more?
  Does all sit there with you, with the mystic unseen soul?

  Strange and hard that paradox true I give,
  Objects gross and the unseen soul are one.

  House-building, measuring, sawing the boards,
  Blacksmithing, glass-blowing, nail-making, coopering, tin-roofing,
  Ship-joining, dock-building, fish-curing, flagging of sidewalks by flaggers,
  The pump, the pile-driver, the great derrick, the coal-kiln and brickkiln,
  Coal-mines and all that is down there, the lamps in the darkness,
      echoes, songs, what meditations, what vast native thoughts
      looking through smutch'd faces,
  Iron-works, forge-fires in the mountains or by river-banks, men
      around feeling the melt with huge crowbars, lumps of ore, the
      due combining of ore, limestone, coal,
  The blast-furnace and the puddling-furnace, the loup-lump at the
      bottom of the melt at last, the rolling-mill, the stumpy bars
      of pig-iron, the strong clean-shaped Trail for railroads,
  Oil-works, silk-works, white-lead-works, the sugar-house,
      steam-saws, the great mills and factories,
  Stone-cutting, shapely trimmings for facades or window or door-lintels,
      the mallet, the tooth-chisel, the jib to protect the thumb,
  The calking-iron, the kettle of boiling vault-cement, and the fire
      under the kettle,
  The cotton-bale, the stevedore's hook, the saw and buck of the
      sawyer, the mould of the moulder, the working-knife of the
      butcher, the ice-saw, and all the work with ice,
  The work and tools of the rigger, grappler, sail-maker, block-maker,
  Goods of gutta-percha, papier-mache, colors, brushes, brush-making,
      glazier's implements,
  The veneer and glue-pot, the confectioner's ornaments, the decanter
      and glasses, the shears and flat-iron,
  The awl and knee-strap, the pint measure and quart measure, the
      counter and stool, the writing-pen of quill or metal, the making
      of all sorts of edged tools,
  The brewery, brewing, the malt, the vats, every thing that is done
      by brewers, wine-makers, vinegar-makers,
  Leather-dressing, coach-making, boiler-making, rope-twisting,
      distilling, sign-painting, lime-burning, cotton-picking,
      electroplating, electrotyping, stereotyping,
  Stave-machines, planing-machines, reaping-machines,
      ploughing-machines, thrashing-machines, steam wagons,
  The cart of the carman, the omnibus, the ponderous dray,
  Pyrotechny, letting off color'd fireworks at night, fancy figures and jets;
  Beef on the butcher's stall, the slaughter-house of the butcher, the
      butcher in his killing-clothes,
  The pens of live pork, the killing-hammer, the hog-hook, the
      scalder's tub, gutting, the cutter's cleaver, the packer's maul,
      and the plenteous winterwork of pork-packing,
  Flour-works, grinding of wheat, rye, maize, rice, the barrels and
      the half and quarter barrels, the loaded barges, the high piles
      on wharves and levees,
  The men and the work of the men on ferries, railroads, coasters,
      fish-boats, canals;
  The hourly routine of your own or any man's life, the shop, yard,
      store, or factory,
  These shows all near you by day and night—workman! whoever you
      are, your daily life!

  In that and them the heft of the heaviest—in that and them far more
      than you estimated, (and far less also,)
  In them realities for you and me, in them poems for you and me,
  In them, not yourself-you and your soul enclose all things,
      regardless of estimation,
  In them the development good—in them all themes, hints, possibilities.

  I do not affirm that what you see beyond is futile, I do not advise
      you to stop,
  I do not say leadings you thought great are not great,
  But I say that none lead to greater than these lead to.

Posted on 24/10/2014, in literature, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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