Planting Companionship

Calamus  is one of the riches sections of Leaves of Grass!  I recognized  many poems worth rereading and sharing with others.  Some will be full memorized, others in part.

Allen Ginsberg wondered why the Gay Liberation Movement took advantage of Calamus. And I wonder what two of my teachers would have made of it (Easwaran and Nhat Hanh).  Another teacher, Matt Fox, would be down with it all, the via positiva, the via negativa (more when Walt dressed wounds of the soldiers), the via creativa, although less of the via  transformativa, though I can see that Walt saw the transformation of society as rooted in “the dear love of comrades.”

Of course, this is a lifetime project (but how much time do I have?)—to assimilate these poems, and to reread them with pen in hand to notice my own immediate,  on-the-spot inspirations and recollections:

In Paths Untrodden
For You O Democracy
Not Heaving from My Ribb’d Breast Only
The Base of All Metaphysics
Recorders Ages Since
Are You the New Person Drawn toward Me?
Now Heat Flames up and Consumes
Trickle Drops
City of Orgies
I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing
To a Stranger
This Moment Yearning and Thoughtful
I Hear It Was Charged against Me
The Prairie Grass Divided
When I Peruse the Conquer’d Fame
No Labor-Saving Machine
Earth, My Likeness
I Dream’d in a  Dream
What Think You I Take My Pen in Hand?
To the East and to the West
Sometimes with One I Love
Among the Multitude
O You Whom I Often and Silently Come
Salut au Monde
Song of the Open Road
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Song of the Answerer
Song of the Broad-Axe [excerpts]
A Song of the Rolling Earth [excerpts]
Youth, Day, Old Age and Night

Some Favorite Passages–

From “In Paths Untrodden

Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains all the rest,
Resolv’d to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment,
Projecting them along that substantial life,
Bequeathing, hence, types of athletic love,
Afternoon, this delicious Ninth-month, in my forty-first year, 
I proceed, for all who are, or have been, young men,
To tell the secret of my nights and days,
To celebrate the need of comrades.

For You O Democracy 

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble;
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon;
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies;

I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about each other’s necks
By the love of comrades
By the manly love of comrades.

For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you, ma femme!  
For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,
In the love of comrades,
In the high-towering love of comrades.

Are You the New Person Drawn toward Me?

ARE you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning—I  am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?        
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?

This Moment Yearning and Thoughtful

THIS moment yearning and thoughtful, sitting alone,
It seems to me there are other men in other lands, yearning and thoughtful;
It seems to me I can look over and behold them, in Germany, Italy, France, Spain—or far, far away, in China, or in Russia or India—talking other dialects;
And it seems to me if I could know those men, I should become attached to them, as I do to men in my own lands;
O I know we should be brethren and lovers,       
I know I should be happy with them. 

No Labor-Saving Machine

NO labor-saving machine,
Nor discovery have I made;
Nor will I be able to leave behind me any wealthy bequest to found a hospital or library,

Nor reminiscence of any deed of courage, for America,
Nor literary success, nor intellect—nor book for the book-shelf;
Only a few carols, vibrating through the air, I leave,
For comrades and lovers.

Sometimes with One I Love

SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love;
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love—the pay is certain, one way or another
(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d;

Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)

O You Whom  Often and Silently Come

O YOU whom I often and silently come where you are, that I may be with you;
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.

From “Salut au Monde/11

Each of us inevitable;
Each of us limitless—each of us with his or her right upon the earth;
Each of us allow’d the eternal purports of the earth; 
Each of us here as divinely as any is here.

From “Song of the Open Road/5

I am larger, better than I thought;
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me;
I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me, I would do the same to you.  
I will recruit for myself and you as I go;  
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go;
I will toss the new gladness and roughness among them;
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.

from “Song of the Open Road/15

Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d!

Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado,  I give you my hand!
I give you my love, more precious than money,
I give you myself, before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

—Sunday 13 March 2016

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