CAROL OF WORDS.
1 Earth, round, rolling, compact---suns,
moons, animals---all these are words to be said;
2 Watery, vegetable, sauroid advances---beings,
premonitions, lispings of the future,
3 Behold! these are vast words to
4 Were you thinking that those were the
words---those upright lines? those curves, angles, dots?
5 No, those are not the words---the
substantial words are in the ground and sea,
6 They are in the air---they are in
7 Were you thinking that those were the
words---those delicious sounds out of your friends' mouths?
8 No, the real words are more delicious
9 Human bodies are words, myriads of words;
10 In the best poems re-appears the
body, man's or woman's, well-shaped, natural, gay,
11 Every part able, active, receptive, without
shame or the need of shame.
12 Air, soil, water, fire---these are
13 I myself am a word with them---my qualities
interpenetrate with theirs---my name is nothing to them;
Though it were told in the three thousand languages, what would air, soil, water,
fire, know of my name?
15 A healthy presence, a friendly or commanding
gesture, are words, sayings, meanings;
16 The charms that go with the mere
looks of some men and women, are sayings and meanings also.
17 The workmanship of souls is by the
inaudible words of the earth;
18 The great masters know the earth's
words, and use them more than the audible words.
19 Amelioration is one of the earth's
20 The earth neither lags nor hastens;
21 It has all attributes, growths,
effects, latent in itself from the jump;
22 It is not half beautiful only---defects
and excrescences show just as much as perfections show.
23 The earth does not withhold, it is
24 The truths of the earth continually
wait, they are not so conceal'd either;
25 They are calm, subtle, untransmissible
26 They are imbued through all things,
conveying themselves willingly,
27 Conveying a sentiment and invitation
of the earth---I utter and utter,
28 I speak not, yet if you hear me
not, of what avail am I to you?
29 To bear---to better---lacking these,
of what avail am I?
30 Accouche! Accouchez!
31 Will you rot your own fruit in
32 Will you squat and stifle there?
33 The earth does not argue,
Is not pathetic, has no arrangements,
35 Does not scream, haste, persuade, threaten,
36 Makes no discriminations, has no conceivable
37 Closes nothing, refuses nothing, shuts none
38 Of all the powers, objects, states, it notifies,
shuts none out.
39 The earth does not exhibit itself,
nor refuse to exhibit itself---possesses still underneath;
40 Underneath the ostensible sounds,
the august chorus of heroes, the wail of slaves,
41 Persuasions of lovers, curses,
gasps of the dying, laughter of young people, accents of bargainers,
42 Underneath these, possessing the
words that never fail.
43 To her children, the words of the eloquent
dumb great mother never fail;
44 The true words do not fail, for
motion does not fail, and reflection does not fail;
45 Also the day and night do not fail, and the
voyage we pursue does not fail.
46 Of the interminable sisters,
47 Of the ceaseless cotillions of
48 Of the centripetal and centrifugal
sisters, the elder and younger sisters,
49 The beautiful sister we know dances
on with the rest.
50 With her ample back towards every beholder,
51 With the fascinations of youth,
and the equal fascinations of age,
52 Sits she whom I too love like the
53 Holding up in her hand what has the character
of a mirror, while her eyes glance back from it,
Glance as she sits, inviting none, denying none,
55 Holding a mirror day and night tirelessly
before her own face.
56 Seen at hand, or seen at a distance,
57 Duly the twenty-four appear in
public every day,
58 Duly approach and pass with their
companions, or a companion,
59 Looking from no countenances of
their own, but from the countenances of those who are with them,
60 From the countenances of children
or women, or the manly countenance,
61 From the open countenances of animals,
or from inanimate things,
62 From the landscape or waters, or
from the exquisite apparition of the sky,
63 From our countenances, mine and
yours, faithfully returning them,
64 Every day in public appearing without fail,
but never twice with the same companions.
65 Embracing man, embracing all, proceed
the three hundred and sixty-five resistlessly round the sun;
66 Embracing all, soothing, supporting, follow
close three hundred and sixty-five offsets of the first, sure and necessary as
67 Tumbling on steadily, nothing dreading,
68 Sunshine, storm, cold, heat, forever
withstanding, passing, carrying,
69 The Soul's realization and determination
70 The fluid vacuum around and ahead still entering
71 No balk retarding, no anchor
anchoring, on no rock striking,
72 Swift, glad, content, unbereav'd, nothing
73 Of all able and ready at any time to give
74 The divine ship sails the divine sea.
75 Whoever you are! motion and reflection
are especially for you;
76 The divine ship sails the divine
sea for you.
77 Whoever you are! you are he or she
for whom the earth is solid and liquid,
78 You are he or she for whom the
sun and moon hang in the sky,
79 For none more than you are the
present and the past,
80 For none more than you is immortality.
81 Each man to himself, and each woman
to herself, such is the word of the past and present, and the word of immortality;
82 No one can acquire for another---not
83 Not one can grow for another---not
84 The song is to the singer, and comes
back most to him;
85 The teaching is to the teacher,
and comes back most to him;
86 The murder is to the murderer,
and comes back most to him;
87 The theft is to the thief, and
comes back most to him;
88 The love is to the lover, and comes
back most to him;
89 The gift is to the giver, and comes
back most to him---it cannot fail;
90 The oration is to the orator, the
acting is to the actor and actress, not to the audience;
91 And no man understands any greatness
or goodness but his own, or the indication of his own.
92 I swear the earth shall surely be complete
to him or her who shall be complete!
93 I swear the earth remains jagged
and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken!
94 I swear there is no greatness or power
that does not emulate those of the earth!
95 I swear there can be no theory
of any account, unless it corroborate the theory of the earth!
96 No politics, art, religion, behavior,
or what not, is of account, unless it compare with the amplitude of the
97 Unless it face the exactness, vitality, impartiality,
rectitude of the earth.
98 I swear I begin to see love with sweeter
spasms than that which responds love!
99 It is that which contains itself---which
never invites, and never refuses.
100 I swear I begin to see little or nothing
in audible words!
101 I swear I think all merges toward
the presentation of the unspoken meanings of the earth!
102 Toward him who sings the songs
of the Body, and of the truths of the earth;
103 Toward him who makes the dictionaries of
words that print cannot touch.
104 I swear I see what is better than
to tell the best;
105 It is always to leave the best
106 When I undertake to tell the best,
I find I cannot,
107 My tongue is ineffectual on its
108 My breath will not be obedient
to its organs,
109 I become a dumb man.
110 The best of the earth cannot be told
anyhow---all or any is best;
111 It is not what you anticipated---it
is cheaper, easier, nearer;
112 Things are not dismiss'd from
the places they held before;
113 The earth is just as positive
and direct as it was before;
114 Facts, religions, improvements,
politics, trades, are as real as before;
115 But the Soul is also real,---it
too is positive and direct;
116 No reasoning, no proof has establish'd
117 Undeniable growth has establish'd it.
118 This is a poem---a carol of words---these
are hints of meanings,
119 These are to echo the tones of
Souls, and the phrases of Souls;
120 If they did not echo the phrases
of Souls, what were they then?
121 If they had not reference to you
in especial, what were they then?
122 I swear I will never henceforth have
to do with the faith that tells the best!
123 I will have to do only with that faith that
leaves the best untold.
124 Say on, sayers!
125 Delve! mould! pile the words of
126 Work on---(it is materials you
must bring, not breaths;)
127 Work on, age after age! nothing
is to be lost;
128 It may have to wait long, but
it will certainly come in use;
129 When the materials are all prepared,
the architects shall appear.
130 I swear to you the architects shall appear
without fail! I announce them and lead them;
131 I swear to you they will understand you,
and justify you;
132 I swear to you the greatest among them
shall be he who best knows, you, and encloses all, and is faithful to all;
133 I swear to you, he and the rest shall not
forget you---they shall perceive that you are not an iota less than they;
134 I swear to you, you shall be glorified