Another time mackerel-taking,
Voracious, mad for the hook, near the surface, they seem to fill
     the water for miles;
Another time fishing for rock-fish in Chesapeake Bay, I one of
     the brown-faced crew;
Another time trailing for blue-fish off Paumanok, I stand with
     braced body,
My left foot is on the gunwale, my right arm throws far out the
     coils of slender rope,
In sight around me the quick veering and darting of fifty skiffs,
     my companions.

O boating on the rivers,
The voyage down the St. Lawrence, the superb scenery, the steamers,
The ships sailing, the Thousand Islands, the occasional timber-raft
     and the raftsmen with long-reaching sweepoars,
The little huts on the rafts, and the stream of smoke when they
     cook supper at evening.

(O something pernicious and dread!
Something far away from a puny and pious life!
Something unproved! something in a trance!
Something escaped from the anchorage and driving free.)

O to work in mines, or forging iron,
Foundry casting, the foundry itself, the rude high roof, the
     ample and shadow'd space,
The furnace, the hot liquid pour'd out and running.

O to resume the joys of the soldier!
To feel the presence of a brave commanding officer — to feel
     his sympathy!
To behold his calmness — to be warm'd in the rays of his smile!
To go to battle — to hear the bugles play and the drums beat!
To hear the crash of artillery — to see the glittering of the
     bayonets and musket-barrels in the sun!
To see men fall and die and not complain!
To taste the savage taste of blood — to be so devilish!
To gloat so over the wounds and deaths of the enemy.

O the whaleman's joys! O I cruise my old cruise again!
I feel the ship's motion under me, I feel the Atlantic breezes
     fanning me,
I hear the cry again sent down from the mast-head, There
     — she blows!

Again I spring up the rigging to look with the rest — we
     descend, wild with excitement,
I leap in the lower'd boat, we row toward our prey where he lies,
We approach stealthy and silent, I see the mountainous mass,
     lethargic, basking,
I see the harpooner standing up, I see the weapon dart from
     his vigorous arm;
O swift again far out in the ocean the wounded whale, settling,
     running to windward, tows me,
Again I see him rise to breathe, we row close again,
I see a lance driven through his side, press'd deep, turn'd
     in the wound,

Again we back off, I see him settle again, the life is leaving
     him fast,
As he rises he spouts blood, I see him swim in circles narrower and
     narrower, swiftly cutting the water — I see him die,
He gives one convulsive leap in the centre of the circle, and then
     falls flat and still in the bloody foam.

O the old manhood of me, my noblest joy of all!
My children and grand-children, my white hair and beard,
My largeness, calmness, majesty, out of the long stretch of my life.

O ripen'd joy of womanhood! O happiness at last!
I am more than eighty years of age, I am the most venerable mother,
How clear is my mind — how all people draw night to me!
What attractions are these beyond any before? what bloom more
     than the bloom of youth?
What beauty is this that descends upon me and rises out of me?

O the orator's joys!
To inflate the chest, to roll the thunder of the voice out from
     the ribs and throat,
To make the people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself,
To lead America — to quell America with a great tongue.

O the joy of my soul leaning pois'd on itself, receiving
     identity through materials and loving them, observing
     characters and absorbing them,
My soul vibrated back to me from them, from sight, hearing,
     touch, reason, articulation, comparison, memory, and the like,
The real life of my senses and flesh transcending my senses and flesh,
My body done with materials, my sight done with my material eyes,
Proved to me this day beyond cavil that it is not my material eyes
     which finally see,
Nor my material body which finally loves, walks, laughs, shouts,
     embraces, procreates.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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