high and glaringly into the night,
Casting their flicker of black contrasted with wild red and
over the tops of houses, and down into the
clefts of streets.
These and all else were to me the same as they are to you,
I loved well those cities, loved well the stately
and rapid river,
The men and women I saw were all near to me,
Others the same others who look
back on me because I
look'd forward to them,
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day, and to-
What is it then between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?
Whatever it is, it avails not distance avails not, and place
I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills
I too walk'd the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in
the waters around it,
I too felt the
curious abrupt questionings stir within me.
In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night or as
I lay in my bed they
came upon me,
I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution,
I too had
receiv'd identity by my body,
That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be I
knew I should be
of my body.
It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
I had done seem'd to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not
Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil,
I am he who knew what it was to
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb'd, blush'd, resented, lied, stole, grudg'd,
anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant,
wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish,
Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of
Was one with
the rest, the days and haps of the rest,
Was call'd by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young
men as they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent
leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public
yet never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing,
the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it,
as we like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small.
Closer yet I approach you,
What thought you have of me now, I had as much of you I
laid in my stores
I consider'd long and seriously of you before you were born.
Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?
Who knows, for all
the distance, but I am as good as looking
at you now, for all you cannot see me?
Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me than
River and sunset
and scallop-edg'd waves of flood-tide?
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the
and the belated lighter?
What gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and
with voices I love call me promptly and
loudly by my
nighest name as I approach?