I perceive Nature, here in sight of the sea, is taking advantage of me, to dart upon me,
Because I have dared to open my mouth, to sing at all.
You oceans both! I close with you;
We murmur alike reproachfully, rolling our sands and drift, knowing not why,
These little shreds indeed, standing for you and me and all.
You friable shore, with trails of debris!
You fish-shaped island! I take what is underfoot;
What is yours is mine, my father.
I too Paumanok,
I too have bubbled up, floated the measureless float, and been wash’d on your shores;
I too am but a trail of drift and debris,
I too leave little wrecks upon you, you fish-shaped island.
I throw myself upon your breast, my father,
I cling to you so that you cannot unloose me,
I hold you so firm, till you answer me something.
Kiss me, my father,
Touch me with your lips, as I touch those I love,
Breathe to me, while I hold you close, the secret of the murmuring I envy.
Ebb, ocean of life, (the flow will return,)
Cease not your moaning, you fierce old mother,
Endlessly cry for your castaways-but fear not, deny not me,
Rustle not up so hoarse and angry against my feet, as I touch you, or gather from you.
I mean tenderly by you and all,
I gather for myself, and for this phantom, looking down where we lead, and following me
Me and mine!
We, loose winrows, little corpses,
Froth, snowy white, and bubbles,
(See! from my dead lips the ooze exuding at last!
See-the prismatic colors, glistening and rolling!)
Tufts of straw, sands, fragments,
Buoy’d hither from many moods, one contradicting another,
From the storm, the long calm, the darkness, the swell;
Musing, pondering, a breath, a briny tear, a dab of liquid or soil;
Up just as much out of fathomless workings fermented and thrown;
A limp blossom or two, torn, just as much over waves floating, drifted at random;
Just as much for us that sobbing dirge of Nature;
Just as much, whence we come, that blare of the cloud-trumpets;
We, capricious, brought hither, we know not whence, spread out before you,
You, up there, walking or sitting,
Whoever you are-we too lie in drifts at your feet.