Song of Myself, 21
I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me, The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue. I am the poet of the woman the same as the man, And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man, And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men. I chant the chant of dilation or pride, We have had ducking and deprecating about enough, I show that size is only development. Have you outstript the rest? are you the President? It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there every one, and still pass on. I am he that walks with the tender and growing night, I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night. Press close bare-bosom'd night—press close magnetic nourishing night! Night of south winds—night of the large few stars! Still nodding night—mad naked summer night. Smile O voluptuous cool-breath'd earth! Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees! Earth of departed sunset—earth of the mountains misty-topt! Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue! Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! Far-swooping elbow'd earth—rich apple-blossom'd earth! Smile, for your lover comes. Prodigal, you have given me love—therefore I to you give love! O unspeakable passionate love.
This poem is in the public domain.
Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass and, along with Emily Dickinson, is considered one of the architects of a uniquely American poetic voice.
Date Published: 1891-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/song-myself-21