A Song of Joys

A Song of Joys

O TO make the most jubilant song!
Full of music — full of manhood, womanhood, infancy!
Full of common employments — full of grain and trees.

O for the voices of animals — O for the swiftness and balance
     of fishes!
O for the dropping of raindrops in a song!
O for the sunshine and motion of waves in a song!

O the joy of my spirit — it is uncaged — it darts like
It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time,
I will have thousands of globes and all time.

O the engineer's joys! to go with a locomotive!
To hear the hiss of steam, the merry shriek, the steam- whistle,
     the laughing locomotive!
To push with resistless way and speed off in the distance.

O the gleesome saunter over fields and hillsides!
The leaves and flowers of the commonest weeds, the moist fresh
     stillness of the woods,
The exquisite smell of the earth at daybreak, and all through
     the forenoon.

O the horseman's and horsewoman's joys!
The saddle, the gallop, the pressure upon the seat, the cool
     gurgling by the ears and hair.

O the fireman's joys!
I hear the alarm at dead of night,
I hear bells, shouts! I pass the crowd, I run!
The sight of the flames maddens me with pleasure.

O the joy of the strong-brawn'd fighter, towering in the arena
     in perfect condition, conscious of power, thirsting to meet
     his opponent.

O the joy of that vast elemental sympathy which only the
     human soul is capable of generating and emitting in steady
     and limitless floods.

O the mother's joys!
The watching, the endurance, the precious love, the anguish,
     the patiently yielded life.

O the joy of increase, growth, recuperation,
The joy of soothing and pacifying, the joy of concord and

O to go back to the place where I was born,
To hear the birds sing once more,
To ramble about the house and barn and over the fields
     once more,
And through the orchard and along the old lanes once more.

O to have been brought up on bays, lagoons, creeks, or along
     the coast,
To continue and be employ'd there all my life,
The briny and damp smell, the shore, the salt weeds exposed at
     low water,
The work of fishermen, the work of the eel-fisher and clam-fisher;
I come with my clam-rake and spade, I come with my eel-spear,
Is the tide out? I join the group of clam-diggers on the flats,
I laugh and work with them, I joke at my work like a mettle-some
     young man;
In winter I take my eel-basket and eel-spear and travel out on
     foot on the ice — I have a small axe to cut holes in the ice,

Behold me well-clothed going gayly or returning in the afternoon,
     my brood of tough boys accompanying me,
My brood of grown and part-grown boys, who love to be with no
     one else so well as they love to be with me,
By day to work with me, and by night to sleep with me.

Another time in warm weather out in a boat, to lift the lobster-pots
     where they are sunk with heavy stones, (I know the buoys,)
O the sweetness of the Fifth-month morning upon the water as I
     row just before sunrise toward the buoys,
I pull the wicker pots up slantingly, the dark green lobsters are
     desperate with their claws as I take them out, I insert wooden
     pegs in the joints of their pincers,
I go to all the places one after another, and then row back
     to the shore,
There in a huge kettle of boiling water the lobsters shall be
     boil'd till their color becomes scarlet.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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