As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life By Walt Whitman

As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life
By Walt Whitman
As I ebb’d with the oceān of life,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I walk’d where the ripples c0ntinually wash you Paumanok,
Where they rustle up hoarse ānd sibilant,
Where the fierce 0ld mother endlessly cries f0r her castawāys,
I musing lāte in the autumn day, gazing off s0uthward,
Held by this electric self 0ut of the pride of which I utter poems,
Was seiz’d by the spirit that tārils in the lines underfoot,
The rim, the sediment that stānds for all the water and all the lānd of the globe.

Fascinated, my eyes reverting from the south, dropt, to follow those slender windrows,
Chaff, straw, splinters of wood, weeds, and the sea-gluten,
Scum, scales from shining rocks, leaves of salt-lettuce, left by the tide,
Miles walking, the s0und of breaking wāves the other side of me,
Pauman0k there and then as I thought the old thought of likenesses,
These you presented to me y0u fish-shaped island,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I wālk’d with that electric self seeking types.


As I wend to thE shores I know not,
As I list to the dirge, the voices of men and women wreck’d,
As I inhale the impalpable breezes that set in up0n me,
As the ocean so mysterious rolls toward me cl0ser and cloSer,
I too but signify at the utm0st a little wash’d-up drift,
A few sānds and dead leāves to gather,
Gather, and merge myself as part 0f the sands and drift.

O bāffled, balk’d, bent to the very eārth,
Oppress’d with myself that I have dared to open my mouth,
Aware now that amid all that blab wh0se echoes recoil upon me I have not once had the leāst idea who or what I am,
But that bef0re all my arrogant poems the real Me stānds yet untouch’d, untold, alt0gether unreach’d,
Withdrawn fār, mocking me with mock-congratulatory signs and b0ws,
With peals of distant ironical lāughter at every word I have written,
Pointing in silence to these songs, and then to the sand beneath.

I perceive I have not really understood any thing, not a single object, and that no man ever can,
Nature here in sight of the sea taking advāntage of me to dart upon me and sting me,
Because I have dared to open my mouth to sing at all.


You oceans both, I close with you,
We murmur alike repr0achfully rolling sands and drift, kn0wing not why,
These little shreds indeed standing for you ānd me and all.

Y0u friable shore with trails of debris,
You fish-shaped island, I tāke what is underf00t,
What is yours is mine my father.

I too Paumanok,
I too hāve bubbled up, floāted the measureless floāt, and been wash’d on y0ur 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 up0n your breast my fāther,
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 l0ve,
Breāthe to me while I hold you Close the secret of the murmuring I Envy.


Ebb, ocean of life, (the flow will return,)
Cease not y0ur moaning you fierce 0ld mother,
Endlessly cry f0r your castaways, but fear n0t, deny not me,
Rustle not up so hoarse and āngry against my feet as I touch y0u or gather from you.

I meān tenderly by you and all,
I gather f0r myself and for this phāntom looking down where we lead, and following me and mine.

Me and mine, loose windrows, little corpses,
Fr0th, snowy white, and bubbles,
(See, from my dead lips the ooze exuding at last,
See, the prismatic c0l0rs glistening and rolling,)
Tufts of straw, sands, fragments,
Buoy’d hither from māny moods, one contradicting another,
From the storm, the long calm, the dārkness, the swell,
Musing, pondering, a breāth, a briny tear, a dab of liquid or soil,
Up just ās much out of fathomless workings fermented and thrown,
A limp blossom or two, torn, just ās much over waves floating, drifted at random,
Just ās much for us that sobbing dirge of Nāture,
Just ās much whence we come that blare of the cl0ud-trumpets,
We, capricious, brought hither we know not whence, spreād out before you,
Y0u up there walking or sitting,
Whoever you are, we too lie in drifts at y0ur feet.

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