Walt Whitman

A B C G I O S T W

A Hand Mirror

Hold it up sternly—see this it sends back, (who is it? is it you?)
Outside fair costume, within ashes and filth,
No more a flashing eye, no more a sonorous voice or springy step,
Now some slave's eye, voice, hands, step,
A drunkard's breath, unwholesome eater's face, venerealee's flesh,
Lungs rotting away piecemeal, stomach sour and cankerous,
Joints rheumatic, bowels clogged with abomination,
Blood circulating dark and poisonous streams,
Words babble, hearing and touch callous,
No brain, no heart left, no magnetism of sex;

A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road Unknown

A march in the ranks hard-prest, and the road unknown,
A route through a heavy wood with muffled steps in the darkness,
Our army foil’ d with loss severe, and the sullen remnant retreating,
Till after midnight glimmer upon us the lights of a dim-lighted building,
We come to an open space in the woods, and halt by the dim-lighted building,
’ Tis a large old church at the crossing roads, now an impromptu hospital
Entering but for a minute I see a sight beyond all the pictures and poems ever made,

A Promise to California

A Promise to California
Also to the great Pastoral Plains, and for Oregon:

Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward
you, to remain, to teach robust American love;

For I know very well that I and robust love belong
among you, inland, and along the Western Sea;

For These States tend inland, and toward the Western
Sea—and I will also.

Adieu, O Soldier

ADIEU, O soldier!
You of the rude campaigning, (which we shared,)
The rapid march, the life of the camp,
The hot contention of opposing fronts—the long manoeuver,
Red battles with their slaughter,—the stimulus—the strong, terrific game,
Spell of all brave and manly hearts—the trains of Time through you, and like of you, all fill’d,
With war, and war’s expression.

All is Truth

O ME, man of slack faith so long!
Standing aloof--denying portions so long;
Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth;
Discovering to-day there is no lie, or form of lie, and can be none,
but grows as inevitably upon itself as the truth does upon
itself,
Or as any law of the earth, or any natural production of the earth
does.

(This is curious, and may not be realized immediately--But it must be
realized;
I feel in myself that I represent falsehoods equally with the rest,
And that the universe does.)

Beat! Beat! Drums!

Beat! beat! drums! — blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows — through doors — burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying,
Leave not the bridegroom quiet — no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums — so shrill you bugles blow.

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