A child said What is the grass? How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers' laps,. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,. And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing. I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,. And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. And what do you think has become of the women and chil- dren? And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,.
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it. I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe, and am not contain'd between my hat and boots,. I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,. For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,. For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,.
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away. I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand. The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,. I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen.
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The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,. The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,. The flap of the curtain'd litter, a sick man inside borne to the hospital,. The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,. What groans of over-fed or half-starv'd who fall sunstruck or in fits,.
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What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes,. What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrain'd by decorum,. Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,. I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I come and I depart.
Falling asleep on the gather'd leaves with my dog and gun by my side. The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud,. My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck. I tuck'd my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;. I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west, the bride was a red girl,. Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking, they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,.
On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held his bride by the hand,.
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach'd to her feet. Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,. And brought water and fill'd a tub for his sweated body and bruis'd feet,.
And gave him a room that enter'd from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes,.
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And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,. And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;. He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass'd north,. I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean'd in the corner. Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,. The beards of the young men glisten'd with wet, it ran from their long hair,. The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,. They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bend- ing arch,.
The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife at the stall in the market,. Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire. The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,. Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,. The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags underneath on its tied-over chain,. The negro that drives the long dray of the stone-yard, steady and tall he stands pois'd on one leg on the string-piece,. His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,.
His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,. The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of his polish'd and perfect limbs. I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop there,. In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,. To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object miss- ing,.
Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes? My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long ramble,. And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else,. And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet trills pretty well to me,.
Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,. The sharp-hoof'd moose of the north, the cat on the house-sill, the chickadee, the prairie-dog,. Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses,. The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,.
The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanks- giving dinner,. The mate stands braced in the whale-boat, lance and harpoon are ready,. The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel,. The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye,. He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his mother's bed-room;.
He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the manu- script;. The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove,. The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass,. The young fellow drives the express-wagon, I love him, though I do not know him;. The western turkey-shooting draws old and young, some lean on their rifles, some sit on logs,.
Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position, levels his piece;. As the woolly-pates hoe in the sugar-field, the overseer views them from his saddle,. The bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their part- ners, the dancers bow to each other,. The youth lies awake in the cedar-roof'd garret and harks to the musical rain,. The squaw wrapt in her yellow-hemm'd cloth is offering moccasins and bead-bags for sale,. The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent sideways,. As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat the plank is thrown for the shore-going passengers,.
The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the knots,.
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The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child,. The clean-hair'd Yankee girl works with her sewing-machine or in the factory or mill,. The paving-man leans on his two-handed rammer, the reporter's lead flies swiftly over the note-book, the sign-painter is lettering with blue and gold,.
The canal boy trots on the tow-path, the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,. The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers follow him,. The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions,.
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