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Walt Whitman

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

The World Below The Brine



THE world below the brine;
Forests at the bottom of the sea--the branches and leaves,
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds--the thick
tangle, the openings, and the pink turf,
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold--the
play of light through the water,
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks--coral, gluten, grass, rushes--
and the aliment of the swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there, suspended, or slowly crawling
close to the bottom,
The sperm-whale at the surface, blowing air and spray, or disporting
with his flukes,
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard,
and the sting-ray;
Passions there--wars, pursuits, tribes--sight in those ocean-depths--
breathing that thick-breathing air, as so many do;
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed
by beings like us, who walk this sphere; 10
The change onward from ours, to that of beings who walk other
spheres.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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