Mutate, Page 1

     lifted out of context from
          LEAVES OF GRASS * (by Walt Whitman)

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"What lies behind 'Leaves of Grass' is something the few very few, only one here and there, perhaps oftenest women, are at all in a position to seize. It lies behind almost every line; but concealed, studiedly concealed. ... I think there are truths which it is necessary to envelope or wrap up." (W. W.)

By my life-lumps!
I sing the body electric,
  Now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes,
We are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we return,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
     immortal reverberations

Prophetic spirit of materials shifting and flickering around me,
Living beings, identities now doubtless near us in the air
     that we know not of,
That behind the mask of materials you patiently wait,
     no matter how long,
That you will one day, perhaps, take control of all,
That you will perhaps dissipate this entire show of appearance,

I give you fair warning, before you attempt me further,
I am not what you supposed, but far different.
The way is suspicious, the result uncertain, perhaps destructive,
For all is useless without that which you may guess at many
     times and not hit, that which I hinted at;
I will give of it, but only to them that love
     as I myself am capable of loving.

O take my hand, Walt Whitman!
Such gliding wonders! such sights and sounds!
Such join'd unended links, each hook'd to the next,
Each answering all, each sharing the earth with all.
What widens within you, Walt Whitman?
What waves and soils exuding?

San Francisco
Spring-Summer
1967

* The entire Leaves of Grass is on the web. I haven't found the particular edition with the preliminary words used in this lifting. Here is a good discussion of Whitman as mystic.

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