Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

Not Heaving From My Ribb'd Breast Only



NOT heaving from my ribb'd breast only;
Not in sighs at night, in rage, dissatisfied with myself;
Not in those long-drawn, ill-supprest sighs;
Not in many an oath and promise broken;
Not in my wilful and savage soul's volition;
Not in the subtle nourishment of the air;
Not in this beating and pounding at my temples and wrists;
Not in the curious systole and diastole within, which will one day
cease;
Not in many a hungry wish, told to the skies only;
Not in cries, laughter, defiances, thrown from me when alone, far in
the wilds; 10
Not in husky pantings through clench'd teeth;
Not in sounded and resounded words--chattering words, echoes, dead
words;
Not in the murmurs of my dreams while I sleep,
Nor the other murmurs of these incredible dreams of every day;
Nor in the limbs and senses of my body, that take you and dismiss you
continually--Not there;
Not in any or all of them, O adhesiveness! O pulse of my life!
Need I that you exist and show yourself, any more than in these
songs.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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