Poetry of L.I.G.H.T and Songs

These mariners put the ship through dangerous unknown seas. This is the geologist, this works with the scalpel, and this is a mathematician. Your facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling,. I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling. Less the reminders of properties told my words,. And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom and extrication,. And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor men and women fully equipt,.

And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and them that plot and conspire. Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son,. Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding,. No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them,. Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current and index. I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,. I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms. Voices of the interminable generations of prisoners and slaves,. Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion,. And of the threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff,.

And of the rights of them the others are down upon,. Fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung. I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,. Copulation is no more rank to me than death is. Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,. This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds. If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it,.

Whatever goes to the tilth of me it shall be you! You my rich blood! Breast that presses against other breasts it shall be you! My brain it shall be your occult convolutions! Trickling sap of maple, fibre of manly wheat, it shall be you! Vapors lighting and shading my face it shall be you! You sweaty brooks and dews it shall be you! Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you! Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you!

I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious,. Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy,. I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,. Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friendship I take again. That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,. A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows,. Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising freshly exuding,. Something I cannot see puts upward libidinous prongs,.

The earth by the sky staid with, the daily close of their junction,. The mocking taunt, See then whether you shall be master! Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me,. If I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me. We also ascend dazzling and tremendous as the sun,.

We found our own O my soul in the calm and cool of the daybreak. 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,. Come now I will not be tantalized, you conceive too much of articulation,. Do you not know O speech how the buds beneath you are folded? The dirt receding before my prophetical screams,.

I underlying causes to balance them at last,. My knowledge my live parts, it keeping tally with the meaning of all things,. Happiness, which whoever hears me let him or her set out in search of this day. My final merit I refuse you, I refuse putting from me what I really am,. Encompass worlds, but never try to encompass me,.

I crowd your sleekest and best by simply looking toward you. I carry the plenum of proof and every thing else in my face,. With the hush of my lips I wholly confound the skeptic. To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it. I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals,. I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice,. I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or following,. Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night,.

Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of work-people at their meals,. The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick,. The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronouncing a death-sentence,. The steam whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars,. They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin.

It shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and breast. A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me,. The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full. The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies,. I am cut by bitter and angry hail, I lose my breath,. At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles,. Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither,. I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop,. They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me. I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy,. Is this then a touch? Flames and ether making a rush for my veins,.

Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them,. My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself,. On all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs,. Straining the udder of my heart for its withheld drip,. Behaving licentious toward me, taking no denial,. Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist,. Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture-fields,. They bribed to swap off with touch and go and graze at the edges of me,. No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my anger,.

Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a while,. Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry me. The sentries desert every other part of me,. They have left me helpless to a red marauder,. They all come to the headland to witness and assist against me. I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the greatest traitor,. I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there.

Unclench your floodgates, you are too much for me. Rich showering rain, and recompense richer afterward. Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and vital,. Landscapes projected masculine, full-sized and golden. They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,. They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon,. The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so,. I believe the soggy clods shall become lovers and lamps,. And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or woman,. And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,. And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,. And until one and all shall delight us, and we them.

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,. And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,. And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,. And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,. And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,. And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,. But call any thing back again when I desire it. In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach,. In vain objects stand leagues off and assume manifold shapes,. In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low,. In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky,. In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs,.

In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods,. I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff. 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 his kind that lived thousands of years ago,.

Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth. So they show their relations to me and I accept them,. They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession. Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them? Myself moving forward then and now and forever,. Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,. Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,.

Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers,. Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms. A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,. Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,. Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,. Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving. His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,. His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.

I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,. Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them? Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you. My ties and ballasts leave me, my elbows rest in sea-gaps,. I skirt sierras, my palms cover continents,. Along the ruts of the turnpike, along the dry gulch and rivulet bed,. Weeding my onion-patch or hoeing rows of carrots and parsnips, crossing savannas, trailing in forests,. Prospecting, gold-digging, girdling the trees of a new purchase,. Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead, where the buck turns furiously at the hunter,.

Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock, where the otter is feeding on fish,. Where the alligator in his tough pimples sleeps by the bayou,. Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-shaped tail;. Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer there with the rest,.

Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the breeze;.

Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on by low scragged limbs,. Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the leaves of the brush,. Where the quail is whistling betwixt the woods and the wheat-lot,. Where the bat flies in the Seventh-month eve, where the great gold-bug drops through the dark,. Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow,.

Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shuddering of their hides,. Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons from the rafters;. Where trip-hammers crash, where the press is whirling its cylinders,. Wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes under its ribs,. Where the pear-shaped balloon is floating aloft, floating in it myself and looking composedly down,.

Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand,. Where the she-whale swims with her calf and never forsakes it,. Where the steam-ship trails hind-ways its long pennant of smoke,. Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water,. Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupting below;. Approaching Manhattan up by the long-stretching island,. Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance,.

Upon a door-step, upon the horse-block of hard wood outside,. Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good game of base-ball,. At he-festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license, bull-dances, drinking, laughter,. At the cider-mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash, sucking the juice through a straw,. At apple-peelings wanting kisses for all the red fruit I find,. At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings, house-raisings;. Where the mocking-bird sounds his delicious gurgles, cackles, screams, weeps,.

Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen,. Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks,. Where sun-down shadows lengthen over the limitless and lonesome prairie,. Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square miles far and near,. Where the humming-bird shimmers, where the neck of the long-lived swan is curving and winding,. Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human laugh,.

Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden half hid by the high weeds,. Where winter wolves bark amid wastes of snow and icicled trees,. Where the splash of swimmers and divers cools the warm noon,. Where the katy-did works her chromatic reed on the walnut-tree over the well,.

Through patches of citrons and cucumbers with silver-wired leaves,. Through the salt-lick or orange glade, or under conical firs,. Looking in at the shop-windows of Broadway the whole forenoon, flatting the flesh of my nose on the thick plate glass,. My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I in the middle;.

By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish patient,. Voyaging to every port to dicker and adventure,. Hurrying with the modern crowd as eager and fickle as any,. Hot toward one I hate, ready in my madness to knife him,. Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me a long while,. Speeding through space, speeding through heaven and the stars,. Speeding amid the seven satellites and the broad ring, and the diameter of eighty thousand miles,. Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in its belly,.

Storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning,. Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing,. I visit the orchards of spheres and look at the product,. I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul,. My course runs below the soundings of plummets. No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me. My messengers continually cruise away or bring their returns to me. I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a pike-pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue. We sail the arctic sea, it is plenty light enough,.

Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty,. The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery is plain in all directions,. The white-topt mountains show in the distance, I fling out my fancies toward them,. We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon to be engaged,.

We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass with still feet and caution,. The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living cities of the globe. I am a free companion, I bivouac by invading watchfires,. I turn the bridegroom out of bed and stay with the bride myself,.

I tighten her all night to my thighs and lips. The courage of present times and all times,. How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm,. How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,. All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,. The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the murderous buckshot and the bullets,.

I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs,. Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the marksmen,. The riders spur their unwilling horses, haul close,. Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with whip-stocks. I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person,. My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.

Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades,. I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels,. I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for my sake,. Painless after all I lie exhausted but not so unhappy,. White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are bared of their fire-caps,.

The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches. They show as the dial or move as the hands of me, I am the clock myself. Again to my listening ears the cannon responsive. The ambulanza slowly passing trailing its red drip,. Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs,. The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan-shaped explosion,.

The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously waves with his hand,. He gasps through the clot Mind not me—mind—the entrenchments. Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth,. The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo,. Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone,. They were the glory of the race of rangers,. Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship,. Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affectionate,.

Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters,. The second First-day morning they were brought out in squads and massacred, it was beautiful early summer,. Some made a mad and helpless rush, some stood stark and straight,. A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart, the living and dead lay together,. That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve young men. Would you learn who won by the light of the moon and stars? Our foe was no skulk in his ship I tell you, said he,. His was the surly English pluck, and there is no tougher or truer, and never was, and never will be;.

On our lower-gun-deck two large pieces had burst at the first fire, killing all around and blowing up overhead. The master-at-arms loosing the prisoners confined in the after-hold to give them a chance for themselves. The transit to and from the magazine is now stopt by the sentinels,. They see so many strange faces they do not know whom to trust. If our colors are struck and the fighting done? Now I laugh content, for I hear the voice of my little captain,. We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun our part of the fighting. The tops alone second the fire of this little battery, especially the main-top,.

They hold out bravely during the whole of the action. The leaks gain fast on the pumps, the fire eats toward the powder-magazine. One of the pumps has been shot away, it is generally thought we are sinking. He is not hurried, his voice is neither high nor low,. His eyes give more light to us than our battle-lanterns. Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender to us. Two great hulls motionless on the breast of the darkness,.

The captain on the quarter-deck coldly giving his orders through a countenance white as a sheet,. The flames spite of all that can be done flickering aloft and below,. The husky voices of the two or three officers yet fit for duty,. Formless stacks of bodies and bodies by themselves, dabs of flesh upon the masts and spars,.

Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the soothe of waves,. Black and impassive guns, litter of powder-parcels, strong scent,. A few large stars overhead, silent and mournful shining,. Delicate sniffs of sea-breeze, smells of sedgy grass and fields by the shore, death-messages given in charge to survivors,.

Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, and long, dull, tapering groan,. You laggards there on guard! See myself in prison shaped like another man,. For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their carbines and keep watch,. I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one with sweat on my twitching lips. Not a youngster is taken for larceny but I go up too, and am tried and sentenced.

Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp but I also lie at the last gasp,. Askers embody themselves in me and I am embodied in them,. I project my hat, sit shame-faced, and beg. I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. That I could forget the mockers and insults! That I could forget the trickling tears and the blows of the bludgeons and hammers! That I could look with a separate look on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning. The grave of rock multiplies what has been confided to it, or to any graves,.

Corpses rise, gashes heal, fastenings roll from me. Inland and sea-coast we go, and pass all boundary lines,. Our swift ordinances on their way over the whole earth,. The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thousands of years. Continue your annotations, continue your questionings.

The friendly and flowing savage, who is he? Is he waiting for civilization, or past it and mastering it? Is he from the Mississippi country? Wherever he goes men and women accept and desire him,. They desire he should like them, touch them, speak to them, stay with them. Slow-stepping feet, common features, common modes and emanations,. They descend in new forms from the tips of his fingers,.

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They are wafted with the odor of his body or breath, they fly out of the glance of his eyes. Flaunt of the sunshine I need not your bask—lie over! You light surfaces only, I force surfaces and depths also. Man or woman, I might tell how I like you, but cannot,.

And might tell what it is in me and what it is in you, but cannot,. And might tell that pining I have, that pulse of my nights and days. Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity,. Spread your palms and lift the flaps of your pockets,. I am not to be denied, I compel, I have stores plenty and to spare,. I do not ask who you are, that is not important to me,. You can do nothing and be nothing but what I will infold you. To cotton-field drudge or cleaner of privies I lean,. And in my soul I swear I never will deny him.

On women fit for conception I start bigger and nimbler babes. This day I am jetting the stuff of far more arrogant republics. To any one dying, thither I speed and twist the knob of the door. Turn the bed-clothes toward the foot of the bed,. I seize the descending man and raise him with resistless will,.

By God, you shall not go down! I dilate you with tremendous breath, I buoy you up,. Not doubt, not decease shall dare to lay finger upon you,. I have embraced you, and henceforth possess you to myself,. And when you rise in the morning you will find what I tell you is so. I am he bringing help for the sick as they pant on their backs,. And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed help. Heard it and heard it of several thousand years;. It is middling well as far as it goes—but is that all? Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters,. Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah,.

Lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, and Hercules his grandson,. In my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved,. With Odin and the hideous-faced Mexitli and every idol and image,. Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more,. Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days,.

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Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself, bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see,. Discovering as much or more in a framer framing a house,. Not objecting to special revelations, considering a curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my hand just as curious as any revelation,.

Lads ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars,. Minding their voices peal through the crash of destruction,. Selling all he possesses, traveling on foot to fee lawyers for his brother and sit by him while he is tried for forgery;. What was strewn in the amplest strewing the square rod about me, and not filling the square rod then,. The supernatural of no account, myself waiting my time to be one of the supremes,. The day getting ready for me when I shall do as much good as the best, and be as prodigious;.

Come my boys and girls, my women, household and intimates,. Folks are around me, but they are no household of mine. Ever the eaters and drinkers, ever the upward and downward sun, ever the air and the ceaseless tides,. Ever myself and my neighbors, refreshing, wicked, real,. Ever love, ever the sobbing liquid of life,. Ever the bandage under the chin, ever the trestles of death. Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking,. To feed the greed of the belly the brains liberally spooning,. Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never once going,. Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for payment receiving,.

A few idly owning, and they the wheat continually claiming. This is the city and I am one of the citizens,. Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets, newspapers, schools,. The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories, stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate.

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  • I am aware who they are, they are positively not worms or fleas,. I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest is deathless with me,. Every thought that flounders in me the same flounders in them. Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less,. And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself.

    But abruptly to question, to leap beyond yet nearer bring;. This printed and bound book—but the printer and the printing-office boy? The well-taken photographs—but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms? In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture—but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes?

    The sky up there—yet here or next door, or across the way? The saints and sages in history—but you yourself? Sermons, creeds, theology—but the fathomless human brain,. And what is reason? I do not despise you priests, all time, the world over,.

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    • My faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths,. Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern,. Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five thousand years,. Waiting responses from oracles, honoring the gods, saluting the sun,. Making a fetich of the first rock or stump, powowing with sticks in the circle of obis,. Helping the llama or brahmin as he trims the lamps of the idols,.

      Dancing yet through the streets in a phallic procession, rapt and austere in the woods a gymnosophist,. Drinking mead from the skull-cup, to Shastas and Vedas admirant, minding the Koran,. Walking the teokallis, spotted with gore from the stone and knife, beating the serpent-skin drum,.

      Accepting the Gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing assuredly that he is divine,. Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis, or waiting dead-like till my spirit arouses me,. Looking forth on pavement and land, or outside of pavement and land,. Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits. One of that centripetal and centrifugal gang I turn and talk like a man leaving charges before a journey.

      I know every one of you, I know the sea of torment, doubt, despair and unbelief. How they contort rapid as lightning, with spasms and spouts of blood! Be at peace bloody flukes of doubters and sullen mopers,. I take my place among you as much as among any,. The past is the push of you, me, all, precisely the same,. And what is yet untried and afterward is for you, me, all, precisely the same. I do not know what is untried and afterward,.

      Light Poems - Poems For Light - - Poem by | Poem Hunter

      But I know it will in its turn prove sufficient, and cannot fail. It cannot fail the young man who died and was buried,. Nor the young woman who died and was put by his side,. Nor the old man who has lived without purpose, and feels it with bitterness worse than gall,. Nor him in the poor house tubercled by rum and the bad disorder,. Nor the sacs merely floating with open mouths for food to slip in,. Nor any thing in the earth, or down in the oldest graves of the earth,.

      Nor any thing in the myriads of spheres, nor the myriads of myriads that inhabit them,. Nor the present, nor the least wisp that is known. It is time to explain myself—let us stand up. I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown. The clock indicates the moment—but what does eternity indicate? We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers,.

      There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them. Births have brought us richness and variety,. And other births will bring us richness and variety. That which fills its period and place is equal to any. Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister? I am sorry for you, they are not murderous or jealous upon me,. All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation,. My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs,. On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps,.

      Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me,. Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, I know I was even there,. I waited unseen and always, and slept through the lethargic mist,. And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid carbon. Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen,. For room to me stars kept aside in their own rings,.

      They sent influences to look after what was to hold me. Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me,. My embryo has never been torpid, nothing could overlay it. Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths and deposited it with care. Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul. Crowding my lips, thick in the pores of my skin,. Jostling me through streets and public halls, coming naked to me at night,. Crying by day Ahoy! Calling my name from flower-beds, vines, tangled underbrush,.

      Noiselessly passing handfuls out of their hearts and giving them to be mine. Old age superbly rising! O welcome, ineffable grace of dying days! Every condition promulges not only itself, it promulges what grows after and out of itself,.

      Poems about light. You can read the best light poems. Browse through all light poems.

      And the dark hush promulges as much as any. I open my scuttle at night and see the far-sprinkled systems,. And all I see multiplied as high as I can cipher edge but the rim of the farther systems. Wider and wider they spread, expanding, always expanding,. My sun has his sun and round him obediently wheels,.

      He joins with his partners a group of superior circuit,. And greater sets follow, making specks of the greatest inside them. There is no stoppage and never can be stoppage,. If I, you, and the worlds, and all beneath or upon their surfaces, were this moment reduced back to a pallid float, it would not avail in the long run,. We should surely bring up again where we now stand,.

      And surely go as much farther, and then farther and farther. A few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic leagues, do not hazard the span or make it impatient,. They are but parts, any thing is but a part. See ever so far, there is limitless space outside of that,. Count ever so much, there is limitless time around that. The Lord will be there and wait till I come on perfect terms,. The great Camerado, the lover true for whom I pine will be there. I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured.

      I tramp a perpetual journey, come listen all!

      Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell's Songs by Lisa Sornberger

      My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,. No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,. I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,. But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,. My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,. Unfortunately, after seeing Jaws everything changed. I developed a phobia about swimming in the ocean, which led to a fear-based avoidance behavior of never going into the ocean throughout my adolescence and young adulthood.

      Ultimately, it was John Williams' soundtrack to Jaws that embedded the primal fear of swimming in the ocean. Just the smell of the sea and sand could create flashbacks to the horror film anytime I was at the water's edge Of course, Spielberg's terrifying cinematic technique of positioning the movie-goer in the vantage point of sharks' eyes prior to attacking a silhouetted victim swimming at the surface of the water created powerful visuals to go along with Williams' soundtrack.

      This double whammy created indelible scary "music-based memories" about open water swimming that have never really gone away. To add insult to injury, many of the international Ironman races I competed in on the triathlon circuit were held in places that are notorious for being "breeding grounds" for Great White sharks, such as Gordon's Bay in South Africa and the Australian coastline.

      The first thing that sprung to mind when I read the new study from McGill about happy vs. I won the Triple Ironman three years in a row, my fastest time was a record-breaking 38 hours and 47 minutes. I would purposely cue up the song "Cherish" and visualize Herb Ritts' video before the swim. While swimming, I'd hum the song and pretend that I was at Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu where the video was filmed, far away from shark infested waters of whatever continent I was actually on.

      I would also recite a stanza from the Emily Dickinson poem ,. For some reason, this combination of poetry and pop music shifted my mindset and gave me the peace of mind and courage enough to get in the water.


      For me, these two musical examples "Cherish" and Jaws are exhibit A and B of the happiest and the scariest music in my memory banks. Does hearing certain songs transport you back in time to a situation when you felt high arousal of fear or happiness? This study investigated the therapeutic effects of what the researchers described as "Self-Identified Sad Music. Joni Mitchell inadvertently touches on this phenomenon in her beautiful but sad song " Hejira " in which she sings "There's comfort in melancholy. When there's no need to explain. It's just as natural as the weather.

      In this moody sky today. Along these lines, as an ultra-endurance athlete, I learned early on in my career that even sad music could be an invaluable tool for creating self-regulated target mindsets. The timing of my transition from a short-distance runner to longer distances races coincided with the release of Madonna's Like a Prayer album which has songs that cover a broad range of emotional territory and a spectrum of low and high arousal. I had been eagerly anticipating this album for months.

      The smell of sunscreen always reminds me of clear blue skies and summertime, which puts me in a good mood. Prior to buying my trove of Like a Prayer formats, I was unaware that Madonna was obsessed with the smell of patchouli while writing and recording this album to such a degree that she insisted that Sire Records infuse the paper sleeves of the CD, vinyl LP, and cassette with this poignant and pungent scent.

      As I peeled the shrink wrap off the cassette box, the unexpected smell of patchouli wafted through the air, stuck to my fingertips, and mixed with the smell of Coppertone on my skin. It was a full-bodied sensory experience on an auditory and olfactory level to have this scent wafting through the Manhattan air and hearing these songs for the first time—especially tracks such as " Dear Jessie " which evokes a Sgt. For me, this song is the ultimate 'beautiful but sad' anthem.

      It is both comforting and inspiring; although it's heartbreaking there is is something triumphant and life-affirming, as summed up in the wistful lyrics, "Keep your head held high, ride like the wind. Never look behind, life isn't fair. That's what you said, so I try not to care. The smell of Coppertone did something to my brain chemistry that complemented the soundtracks of music or poetry in my mind.

      Unfortunately, Ironman triathlon rules forbid the use of headphones during competitions. Blasting music on my Walkman and later an iPod or smartphone was always like rocket fuel for me during my workouts. During competitions, I couldn't listen to music, which was like having my umbilical cord to my lifeline of inspiration yanked away. Luckily, through trial and error, I began to realize that while I was running, biking, and swimming extremely long distances without music, random poetic phrases would bubble up and pop into my mind. Once I realized that headphones had been banned from all Ironman competitions.

      Before going to bed, I'd flip through the notecards and memorize poetic phrases and other quotations. During athletic events, I could keep myself entertained and self-regulate my explanatory style by reciting poems. I used this technique to create an optimistic and upbeat mood during sports competitions, just like I used music to create a specific mood during my athletic training. This was an " Aha! Brain activity was scanned inside the fMRI when study participants were reading four different types of poetry and prose: As would be expected, the team found that neural activity in the "reading network" of brain areas was activated in response to any type of written material.

      However, of these four different types of literature, only self-selected poetry that resonated emotionally with a study participant caused the brain to light up in the fMRI as if he or she was listening to music that struck a deep emotional chord. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only study to specifically examine differing responses to poetry and prose inside an fMRI. When I read this study a few years ago, it jumped out at me for a variety of personal reasons mentioned above in terms of optiming my athletic performance.

      Additionally, when I was writing The Athlete's Way: Sweat and the Biology of Bliss St. Martin's Press , my very patient and brilliant editor, Diane Reverand—along with book designer Gretchen Achilles—worked tirelessly with me to infuse poetic verses and quotations that struck an emotional chord like poetry in between my prose. Flip-flopping between poetry and prose was something that felt right to me, but now I realize that it also illustrated how my brain worked and that I was trying to infuse the musicality of poetry into the manuscript. Stanley Kunitz who wrote one of my favorite poems, " Touch Me " with the famous line, "What makes the engine go?

      The longing for the dance stirs in the buried life. Certain stanzas from "The Knowledge of Light" resonate more deeply with me than others depending on the time and place I'm at in my life. I The willow shining From the quick rain, Leaf, cloud, early star Are shaken light in this water: The tremolo of their brightness: II The deep shines with the deep.