Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THIS COMPOST: 2., by WALT WHITMAN



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THIS COMPOST: 2., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Behold this compost! Behold it well!
Last Line: Leavings from them at last.
Subject(s): Earth; World


Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form'd part of a sick person --
yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noiselessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out
of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while the
she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch'd eggs,
The new-born of animals appear, the calf is dropt from the
cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato's dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk, the lilacs
bloom in the dooryards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all
those strata of sour dead.

What chemistry!
That the winds are really not infectious,
That this is no cheat, this transparent green-wash of the
sea which is so amorous after me,
That it is safe to allow it to lick my naked body all over
with its tongues,
That it will not endanger me with the fevers that have
deposited themselves in it,
That all is clean forever and forever,
That the cool drink from the well tastes so good,
That blackberries are so flavorous and juicy,
That the fruits of the apple-orchard and the
orange-orchard, that melons, grapes, peaches, plums,
will none of them poison me,
That when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was
once a catching disease.

Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such
endless successions of diseas'd corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual,
sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such
leavings from them at last.





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