Calamus

In paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
From all the standards hitherto publish’d, from the
pleasures, profits, conformities,
Which too long I was offering to feed my soul,
Clear to me now standards not yet publish’d, clear to me
that my soul,
That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades,
Here by myself away from the clank of the world,
Tallying and talk’d to here by tongues aromatic,
No longer abash’d, (for in this secluded spot I can respond
as I would not dare elsewhere,)
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.

— Walt Whitman

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