Song of Myself

On the Dunes, James Jebusa Shannon

On the Dunes, James Jebusa Shannon

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d
the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

 

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin
         of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions
         of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look
         through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in
         books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the begin-
         ning 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.
Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.


Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and

        increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.
Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied,
         braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.
Excerpt Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman