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Leaves of Grass

1. Starting from Paumanok
1
Starting from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born,
Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother,
After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements,
Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas,
Or a soldier camp'd or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a miner
in California,
Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat, my drink from
the spring,
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,
Far from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and happy,
Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of
mighty Niagara,
Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and
strong-breasted bull,
Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain, snow,
my amaze,
Having studied the mocking-bird's tones and the flight of the
mountain-hawk,
And heard at dawn the unrivall'd one, the hermit thrush from the
swamp-cedars,
Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.
2
Victory, union, faith, identity, time,
The indissoluble compacts, riches, mystery,
Eternal progress, the kosmos, and the modern reports.
This then is life,
Here is what has come to the surface after so many throes and convulsions.
How curious! how real!
Underfoot the divine soil, overhead the sun.
See revolving the globe,
The ancestor-continents away group'd together,
The present and future continents north and south, with the isthmus
between.
See, vast trackless spaces,
As in a dream they change, they swiftly fill,
Countless masses debouch upon them,
They are now cover'd with the foremost people, arts, institutions, known.
 
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