of their
Your mass of homes nor poor nor rich, in visions rise
     — (even your excellent poverties,)
Your self-distilling, never-ceasing virtues, self-denials, graces,
Your endless base of deep integrities within, timid but
Your blessings steadily bestow'd, sure as the light, and still,
(Plunging to these as a determin'd diver down the deep
     hidden waters,)
These, these to-day I brood upon — all else refusing,
     these will I con,
To-day to these give audience.

1873 1897


SANE, random, negligent hours,
Sane, easy, culminating hours,
After the flush, the Indian summer, of my life,
Away from Books — away from Art —
     the lesson learn'd, pass'd o'er,
Soothing, bathing, merging all — the sane, magnetic,
Now for the day and night themselves — the open air,
Now for the fields, the seasons, insects, trees — the
     rain and snow,
Where wild bees flitting hum,
Or August mulleins grow, or winter's snowflakes fall,
Or stars in the skies roll round —
The silent sun and stars.

1897 1897


FULL of wickedness, I — of many a smutch'd deed
     reminiscent — of worse deeds capable,
Yet I look composedly upon nature, drink day and night the
     joys of life, and await death with perfect equanimity.
Because of my tender and boundless love for him I love and
     because of his boundless love for me.

1897 1897


(Cf. Stanza 27, Song of Myself, p. 53)

TO be at all — what is better than that?
I think if there were nothing more developed, the clam
    in its callous shell in the sand were august enough.
I am not in any callous shell;
I am cased with supple conductors, all over,
They take every object by the hand, and lead it within me;
They are thousands, each one with his entry to himself;
They are always watching with their little eyes, from my head
     to my feet;
One no more than a point lets in and out of me such bliss and
I think I could lift the girder of the house away if it lay
     between me and whatever I wanted.

1855 1897


To accompany a picture; by request. The Valley of the
Shadow of Death, from the painting by George Inness

NAY, do not dream, designer dark,
Thou hast portray'd or hit thy theme entire;
I, hoverer of late by this dark valley, by its confines,
     having glimpses of it,
Here enter lists with thee, claiming my right to make a
     symbol too.

For I have seen many wounded soldiers die,
After dread suffering — have seen their lives
     pass off with smiles;
And I have watch'd the death-hours of the old; and
     seen the infant die;
The rich with all his nurses and his doctors;
And then the poor, in meagreness and poverty;
And I myself for long, O Death, have breath'd my
     every breath
Amid the nearness and the silent thought of thee.
And out of these and thee,
I make a scene, a song (not fear of thee,
Nor gloom's ravines, nor bleak, nor dark —
     for I do not fear thee,
Nor celebrate the struggle, or contortion, or hard-tied knot),
Of the broad blessed light and perfect air, with meadows,
     rippling tides, and trees and flowers and grass,
And the low hum of living breeze — and in the
     midst God's beautiful eternal right hand,
Thee, holiest minister of Heaven — thee, envoy,
     usherer, guide at last of all,
Rich, florid, loosener of the stricture-knot call'd life,
Sweet, peaceful, welcome Death.

1892 1897

  By PanEris using Melati.

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