FACING west, from California's shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the
ONLY themselves understand themselves, and the like of themselves,
As Souls only understand Souls.
As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet, (for 'twas autumn,)
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all I could understand,)
ONE song, America, before I go,
I'd sing, o'er all the rest, with trumpet sound,
For thee--the Future.
How I wish I could impress others as you have just been impressing
IN paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
SINGING my days,
Singing the great achievements of the present,
Singing the strong, light works of engineers,
SPLENDOR of ended day, floating and filling me!
Hour prophetic--hour resuming the past!
Inflating my throat--you, divine average!
WHEN I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv'd
with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night
for me that follow'd;