O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues, And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women, And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air, Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same, I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin, Hoping to cease not till death.Creeds and schools in abeyance, Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy.8 The little one sleeps in its cradle, I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand.The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill, I peeringly view them from the top.
I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
The smoke of my own breath, Echoes, ripples, buzz'd whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine, My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs, The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color'd sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn, The sound of the belch'd words of my voice loos'd to the eddies of the wind, A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms, The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag, The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides, The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun. 3 I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end, But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
There was never any more inception than there is now, Nor any more youth or age than there is now, And will never be any more perfection than there is now, Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?