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Leaves Of Grass – 38. These, I, Singing In Spring

 “ THESE, I, SINGING IN SPRING.

THESE, I, singing in spring, collect for lovers,

(For who but I should understand lovers, and all their 

sorrow and joy?

And who but I should be the poet of comrades?)

Collecting, I traverse the garden, the world—but soon 

I pass the gates,

Now along the pond-side—now wading in a little, 

fearing not the wet,

Now by the post-and-rail fences, where the old stones 

thrown there, pick’d from the fields, have accu-

mulated,

Wild-flowers and vines and weeds come up through 

the stones, and partly cover them—Beyond 

these I pass,

Far, far in the forest, before I think where I go,

Solitary, smelling the earthy smell, stopping now and 

then in the silence,

Alone I had thought—yet soon a silent troop gathers 

around me,

Some walk by my side, and some behind, and some 

embrace my arms or neck,

They, the spirits of friends, dead or alive—thicker 

they come, a great crowd, and I in the middle,

Collecting, dispensing, singing in spring, there I wan-

der with them,

Plucking something for tokens—tossing toward who-

ever is near me;

Here! lilac, with a branch of pine,

Here out of my pocket, some moss which I pull’d off 

a live-oak in Florida, as it hung trailing down,

Here, some pinks and laurel leaves, and a handful of 

sage,

And here what I now draw from the water, wading in 

the pond-side,

(O here I last saw him that tenderly loves me—and 

returns again, never to separate from me,

And this, O this shall henceforth be the token of com-

rades—this Calamus-root shall,

Interchange it, youths, with each other! Let none 

render it back!)

And twigs of maple, and a bunch of wild orange, and 

chestnut,

And stems of currants, and plum-blows, and the aro-

matic cedar:

These, I, compass’d around by a thick cloud of spirits,

Wandering, point to, or touch as I pass, or throw them 

loosely from me,

Indicating to each one what he shall have—giving 

something to each;

But what I drew from the water by the pond-side, 

that I reserve,

I will give of it—but only to them that love, as I my-

self am capable of loving.”

Walt Whitman

By Perspective

Photographer

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