Walt Whitman

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

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 accumulated,
(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 troop gathers around me, 10
Some walk by my side, and some behind, and some embrace my arms or
neck,
They, the spirits of dear friends, dead or alive--thicker they come,
a great crowd, and I in the middle,
Collecting, dispensing, singing in spring, there I wander with them,
Plucking something for tokens--tossing toward whoever 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 pondside,
(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 comrades--this
Calamus-root shall, 20
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 aromatic 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 myself am capable
of loving.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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