The Indications [excerpt]
The words of the true poems give you more than poems,
They give you to form for yourself, poems, religions, politics, war, peace, behavior, histories, essays, romances, and everything else,
They balance ranks, colors, races, creeds, and the sexes,
They do not seek beauty—they are sought,
Forever touching them, or close upon them, follows beauty, longing, fain, love-sick.
They prepare for death—yet are they not the finish, but rather the outset,
They bring none to his or her terminus, or to be content and full;
Whom they take, they take into space, to behold the birth of stars, to learn one of the meanings,
To launch off with absolute faith—to sweep through the ceaseless rings, and never be quiet again.
From Leaves of Grass, 1900. This poem is in the public domain.