All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
Having pried through the strata, analysed to a hair,
Counselled with doctors and calculated close,
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.
I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also.
What blurt is this about virtue and about vice?
Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me,
I stand indifferent,
My gait is no fault-finder’s or rejecter’s gait,
I moisten the roots of all that has grown.
Through me forbidden voices,
Voices of sexes and lusts, voices veiled and I removes the veil,
Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigured. I do not press my finger across my mouth,
I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,
Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.
I believe in the flesh and the appetites,
Seeing, hearing, feeling are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touched from,
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.
My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach,
With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.
Speech is the twin of my vision, it is unequal to measure itself,
It provokes me forever, it says sarcastically,
Walt, you contain enough, why don’t you let it out then?
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained, I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to god,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to its kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not god, is greater to one than one’s self is,
I hear and behold god in every object, yet understand god not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.
Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)