Returning to Leaves of Grass after a long hiatus through Surrealism and protest, it's nice to be back. This section of Leaves of Grass 13 Poem of Procreation is one of my favorites and stands out as one of the most sensual pieces of Whitman work.
Leaves of Grass
13 -- Poem of Procreation
By Walt Whitman
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, delica-
cies, results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal
mystery, the semitic milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals,
All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the
All the governments, judges, gods, followed per-
sons of the earth,
These are contained in sex, as parts of itself
and justifications of itself.
Without shame the man I like knows and avows
the deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and
O I will fetch bully breeds of children yet!
They cannot be fetched, I say, on less terms than
Electric growth from the male, and rich ripe fibre
from the female, are the terms.
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
I see that they are worthy of me -- so I will be
the robust husband of those women!
They are not one jot less than I am,
They are tanned in the face by shining suns and
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and
They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle,
shoot, run, strike, retreat, advance, resist,
They are ultimate in their own right -- they are
calm, clear, well-possessed of themselves.
I draw you close to me, you women!
I cannot let you go, I would do you good,
I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our
Enveloped in you sleep greater heroes and bards,
They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but
It is I, you women -- I make my way,
I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable -- but I
I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for
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 en-
I dare not withdraw till I deposite 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 of America,
The drops I distil upon you are drops of fierce
and athletic girls, and of new artists, musi-
The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in
I shall demand perfect men and women out of my
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 gush-
ing showers I give now,
I shall look for loving crops from the birth, life,
death, immortality I plant so lovingly now.