Song of the Open Road
Song of the Open Road
AFOOT and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path
before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone
no more, need
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I
travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill'd with them; and I will fill them in return.)
You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are
not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen
is also here.
Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor
The black with his woolly head, the
felon, the diseas'd, the
illiterate person, are not denied;
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the
the drunkard's stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,
The escaped youth, the rich
person's carriage, the fop, the
The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture
into the town, the return back from the town,
They pass, I also pass, any thing passes, none can be
None but are accepted, none but shall be dear to me.
You air that serves me with breath to speak!
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable
You paths worn in the
irregular hollows by the roadsides!
I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so
You flagg'd walks of the cities! you strong curbs at the edges!
You ferries! you planks and posts of wharves!
sides! you distant ships!
You rows of houses! you window-pierc'd façades! you
You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards!
You windows whose transparent shells
might expose so much!
You doors and ascending steps! you arches!
You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden
From all that has touch'd you I believe you have imparted to
yourselves, and now would impart
the same secretly to me,
From the living and the dead you have peopled your impassive
the spirits thereof would be evident and
amicable with me.
The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where
it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road,
the gay fresh sentiment
of the road.
O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not if you leave me you
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and
undenied, adhere to me?