Walt Whitman

A woman waits for me—she contains all, nothing is
lacking,
Yet all were lacking, if sex were lacking, or if the
moisture of the right man were lacking.

Sex contains all,
Bodies, Souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies,
results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery,
the semitic milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals,
All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the
earth,
All the governments, judges, gods, follow’d persons of
the earth,
These are contain’d in sex, as parts of itself, and jus-
tifications of itself.

Without shame the man I like knows and avows the
deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows
hers.

Now I will dismiss myself from impassive women,
I will go stay with her who waits for me, and with
those women that are warm-blooded and suffi-
cient for me:
I see that they understand me, and do not deny me:
I see that they are worthy of me—I will be the robust
husband of those women.

They are not one jot less than I am,
They are tann’d in the face by shining suns and
blowing winds,
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,
They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run,
strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend them-
selves,
They are ultimate in their own right—they are calm,
clear, well-possess’d of themselves.

I draw you close to me, you women!
I cannot let you go, I would do you good,
I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our
own sake, but for others’ sakes;
Evelop’d in you sleep greater heroes and bards,
They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me:

It is I, you women—I make my way,
I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable—but I love you,
I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for you,
I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for
These States—I press with slow rude muscle,
I brace myself effectually—I listen to no entreaties,
I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long
accumulated within me.

Through you I drain the pent-up rivers of myself,
In you I wrap a thousand onward years,
On you I graft the grafts of the best-beloved of me
and America,
The drops I distil upon you shall grow fierce and ath-
letic girls, new artists, musicians, and singers,
The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in
their turn,
I shall demand perfect men and women out of my
love-spendings,
I shall expect them to interpenetrate with others, as I
and you interpenetrate now,
I shall count on the fruits of the gushing showers of
them, as I count on the fruits of the gushing
showers I give now,
I shall look for loving crops from the birth, life, death,
immortality, I plant so lovingly now.

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