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“A Woman Waits For Me”

A WOMAN waits for me–she
contains all, nothing is lacking,
Yet all were lacking, if sex were
lacking, or if the moisture of the
right man were lacking.
Sex contains all,
Bodies, Souls, meanings, proofs,
purities, delicacies, results,
Songs, commands, health, pride,
the maternal mystery, the
All hopes, benefactions,
All the passions, loves, beauties,
delights of the earth,
All the governments, judges,
gods, follow’d persons of the
These are contain’d in sex, as
parts of itself, and justifications
Without shame the man I like
knows and avows the
deliciousness of his
sex, 10
Without shame the woman I like
knows and avows hers.
Now I will dismiss myself from
impassive women,
I will go stay with her who
waits for me, and with those
women that
are warm-blooded and
sufficient for me;
I see that they understand me,
and do not deny me;
I see that they are worthy of
me–I will be the robust
husband of
those women.
They are not one jot less than I
They are tann’d in the face by
shining suns and blowing
Their flesh has the old divine
suppleness and strength,
They know how to swim, row,
ride, wrestle, shoot, run, strike,
retreat, advance, resist, defend
They are ultimate in their own
right–they are calm, clear, well-
possess’d of themselves. 20
I draw you close to me, you
I cannot let you go, I would do
you good,
I am for you, and you are for
me, not only for our own sake,
but for
others’ sakes;
Envelop’d in you sleep greater
heroes and bards,
They refuse to awake at the
touch of any man but me.
It is I, you women–I make my
I am stern, acrid, large,
undissuadable–but I love you,
I do not hurt you any more than
is necessary for you,
I pour the stuff to start sons and
daughters fit for These States–I
press with slow rude muscle,
I brace myself effectually–I listen
to no entreaties, 30
I dare not withdraw till I deposit
what has so long accumulated
within me.
Through you I drain the pent-up
rivers of myself,
In you I wrap a thousand
onward years,
On you I graft the grafts of the
best-beloved of me and America,
The drops I distil upon you shall
grow fierce and athletic girls,
artists, musicians, and singers,
The babes I beget upon you are
to beget babes in their turn,
I shall demand perfect men and
women out of my love-
I shall expect them to
interpenetrate with others, as I
and you
interpenetrate now,
I shall count on the fruits of the
gushing showers of them, as I
count on the fruits of the
gushing showers I give now,
I shall look for loving crops from
the birth, life, death,
immortality, I plant so lovingly
now. 40

Walt Whitman.

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