Come lovely and soothing death, Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each, Sooner or later, delicate death.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable.
The head of the money-maker that plotted all day sleeps,
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done.
I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death.
Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep for the dead I loved so well.
I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate, compassionate, fully armed; I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold, And I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its translation.
And as to you Death, and you bitter hug of mortality, it is idle to try to alarm me…. And as to you corpse, I think you are good manure, but that does not offend me, I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing, I reach to the leafy lips — I reach to the polished breasts of melons. And as to you life, I reckon you are the leavings of many deaths, No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.
O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you, you express me better than I can express myself.
Love-buds, put before you and within you, whoever you are, Buds to be unfolded on the old terms; If you bring the warmth of the sun to them, they will open, and bring form, color, perfume, to you; If you become the aliment and the wet, they will become flowers, fruits, tall blanches and trees.
The female that loves unrequited sleeps,
What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas’d the moment life appear’d. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
And the male that loves unrequited sleeps,
And the enraged and treacherous dispositions, all, all sleep.
I will write the evangel-poem of comrades and of love.
Now I see that there is no such thing as love unreturn’d. The pay is certain, one way or another.
I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained; I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition; They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins; They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God; Not one is dissatisfied-not one is demented with the mania of owning things; Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago; Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.
Sometimes with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love; But now I think there is no unreturn’d love—the pay is certain, one way or another; (I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d; Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)
As soon as histories are properly told there is no more need of romances.
I cannot too often repeat that Democracy is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite awakened, notwithstanding the resonance and the many angry tempests out of which its syllables have come, from pen or tongue. It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten because that history has yet to be enacted.
Love the earth and sun and animals, Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, Stand up for the stupid and crazy, Devote your income and labor to others… And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.