I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
and what I assume you must assume,
for every atom that belongs to me belongs to you too.
I take pleasure and invite my soul,
I lie down and enjoy watching
a spear of grass in the summer.
My tongue, every atom of my blood,
formed from this soil, from this air,
born here of parents here born of parents similar in this and their parents too,
I, now thirty-seven years old, start in full health, hoping not to stop until death.
Potential beliefs and schools,
away a little bit, which is enough for what they are,
although not forgotten,
I shelter good and evil,
I allow myself to speak in any circumstances,
confrontation with the original force.
Play with me on the grass, loosen the lump in my throat,
neither words nor music nor rhymes I want, neither custom nor lesson, not even the best,
I just want the quiet, the murmur of your valve voice.
I believe in you my soul, the other that I am must not
stoop to you, and you don’t even have to stoop to the other.
I think of how we stretched once
lying on a transparent summer morning,
how you forced your head on my hips
and gently turned on me
and you ripped my shirt off my chest bone
and stuck your tongue in my naked heart
and you went like that until I felt my beard
and you went like this until my feet felt.
Sweetly grew and peace spread around me
And knowledge beyond all land arguments,
and I know that the hand of God is the promise of mine,
and I know that the spirit of God is my brother
and that all men already born too
are my brothers,
and my sister and lover women,
and that a reinforcement of creation is love,
unlimited are the dry leaves or falling in the fields,
and brownish ants in the little holes
slime plates on the cracked fence, piles of stones,
wild flowers, moss and hawthorn.
Did anyone think it was lucky to be born?
I hurry to inform him or her
how lucky it is to die, and I know that.
I spend death with those who are dying
and the birth with the newly washed babies,
and I don’t feel caught between the hat and the shoes,
and handling objects in different ways,
nor two equal and each better,
the good land and good the stars,
everything that goes for them is good.
I am neither a land nor a land function,
I am the colleague and companion of people,
all of them as immortal and inexhaustible as myself
(don’t know how immortal, but I know).
Each species for itself and for itself,
for me male and female,
for me those who were boys and love women,
me the man who has his pride
and you know how it hurts to be disregarded,
me the girlfriend and the old virgin,
mothers and mothers of mothers,
the lips that already made me laugh,
eyes that have already brought tears,
me children and child-rearers.
Find out! They are not guilty, for me,
neither bad nor marginalized,
I see through wool or cotton clothes whether yes or no,
and I stay around, stubborn, acquisitive, indefatigable,
and I can’t be sent away.
Twenty-eight young men bathing on the beach,
twenty-eight boys and all so friendly;
twenty-eight years of a woman’s life
and all so lonely.
And owner of the beautiful house on the way up the ravine,
she hides nice and well dressed
behind the window flags.
Which boy does she like best?
Ah the most homemade of all for her is the most beautiful.
Where are you going, my lady?
For I see you, you dive into those waters,
despite stopping like a stick in your room.
Dancing and laughing on the beach line comes the bather
twenty-ninth, the others did not see it
but she saw and loved them.
The young men’s beards shone
drops of water,
falling out of their long hair,
small streams of water ran down his body.
An invisible hand also passed over their bodies,
trembling down from the foreheads and hips.
The boys swim on their backs, clear bellies in the sun,
without asking who is reaching out to them,
they don’t know who fills their chest
and gives up with wavy and wobbly eyebrows,
nor does it occur to them that they are saving anyone
with the water they splash.
These are really the thoughts of all men
At any time and place, they are not my originals,
if they are not yours as mine
don’t want to say anything, or almost nothing,
if it’s not the question and the question solution,
Does not mean anything,
if they don’t get as close as they seem distant,
are worth nothing.
This is the grass that grows wherever there is land
and there is water,
this is the common air that bathes the globe.
With strong music I come,
with my horns and drums,
I don’t play marches only for established winners,
I play marches also for beaten people
Haven’t you heard it was good to win the day?
I say that losing is also good,
battles are lost
in the same spirit with which they are won.
I beat and beat the dead,
breath in my mouths the highest
and I can be happier for them.
Live to those who have failed!
And those whose warships have sunk in the sea!
And those who personally sank in the sea!
And to all the generals who lost in the maneuvers
and they were all heroes!
And the countless unknown heroes
equivalent to the greatest heroes known!
Who goes around – restless, rough, mystical, naked?
How do I extract strength from the meat I eat?
What is a man, anyway? What am I? What are you?
Everything I point out of mine you can take as yours,
time is not wasted listening to me.
I don’t cry what the world cries too much,
that the months are empty and the mud floor
Moaning and cowering full of dust for the disabled,
conformism looks good for fourth graders;
I put my hat on as I want,
in or out.
Why should I pray?
Why should I show respect and perform ceremonies?
Having inquired into the strata,
analyzed up to a hair,
consulted doctors and calculated accordingly,
I don’t find any sweeter substance
than the one connected with my own bones.
In every person I see myself,
neither more nor less a grain of barley,
and the good or bad I say about myself I say about them.
I know I’m solid and healthy,
for me converging things flow perpetually
of the universe,
they are all written for me and I have to know
what writing means.
I know I have no death,
I know that this orbit of mine cannot be crossed out
by a carpentry compass,
I know I won’t get through like a child’s wart
taken at night with a burnt pin.
I know that I am superb,
do not disturb my spirit to show your worth
or to be understood,
I see that the elementary laws
they never make excuses.
(I recognize that, after all,
I don’t proceed with pride
beyond the height at which I build my house.)
I exist as I am, that is enough;
if no one else in the world takes notice,
I feel happy,
and if each and everyone becomes aware,
I feel happy.
There is a world that takes notice
and that is by far the biggest for me –
the world of myself;
if I myself arrive today, or ten thousand from now
or ten million years ago,
I can reach it now in a good mood
or with equal disposition I can wait.
The place for my feet is plowed
and set in granite;
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
I know the breadth of time well.
I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
the delights of heaven are in me
and the horrors of hell are in me,
the first one I graft and enlarge around me,
the second I translate into a new language.
I am the poet of the woman as well as the man,
and I say that there is so much greatness in being a woman
as in being a man,
and I say that there is nothing greater than the mother of men.
I sing the song of expansion and pride,
we’ve had enough avoidance and criticism,
I demonstrate that size is just evolution.
Have you overtaken the others? Are you the President?
What trifle: will do more than arrive
and still go ahead.
I am the one who goes with the tender and growing night,
I invoke the land and the sea half taken by night.
Tighten up more, bare-chested night!
Tighten up more, magnetic nursing night!
Night of the south winds – night of the few
Night still to bow – hallucinated naked summer night.
Smile, O voluptuous land of cold breath!
Land of dormant and liquid trees!
Land of the Sunset Away – Land of the Hills
covered in mist!
Glassy land dripping from the full moon just blue paint!
Land of brightness and gloomy encounter
in the floods of the river!
Land of clear gray clouds
brighter and clearer
For my taste!
Land of great bids found – rich land
Smile, because your lover is coming.
Prodigal, love you have given me – so I give you love!
Oh unspeakable passionate love.
Endless unfolding of the words of the times!
For me a very modern word – the word Massa.
A word of faith that never changes,
here or from now on is always the same,
I understand Time in absolute terms.
She is the only one without spot, it involves and completes everything,
the amazing mystical wonder
alone completes everything.
I accept Reality and I dare not question it,
impregnation of materialism from beginning to end.
Long live positive science! Live the exact experience!
Take the stone plant together with cedar
and branches of lilac,
here is the lexicographer, here the chemist,
here what did a grammar of old parchments,
here sailors who took your ship
across dangerous and ignored seas,
here the geologist, here who handles the scalpel,
and here a mathematician.
Gentlemen, initial honors are always for you!
Your deeds are useful, and although
they don’t concern me,
I just walk over to them without leaving the area
that concerns me.
Except those who recall properties
they told me my words,
and more those who remember the unexpressed life,
freedom and overflow,
and take little account of neutrals and castrations,
and favor men and women
and make the gong of revolt resound, and make point
with fugitives and those who plot and conspire.
Be in a way – what is it?
(We spin and spin, all of us, and we’re
If nothing had evolved more,
the oyster in its warm shell should suffice.
I’m not a callous shell,
I have conductive snapshots all over me,
whether walking or standing still,
learn each object and take it without harm
I just get excited, feel, feel with my fingers,
and I’m happy, playing with someone else’s
it is almost as much as I can resist.
All truths are waiting in all things,
nor do they rush their own birth
nor are they opposed to it,
do not lack the surgeon’s obstetric forceps,
and the insignificant for me is as big as everything
(which is less or more than a contact).
Sermons and logics never convince,
the weight of the night shuts much deeper
in my soul.
(Only what is proven to any man or woman,
is that it is;
only what nobody denies, it is.)
A minute and a drop of me solves my brain,
I believe that clods of clay
can become lovers and lamps,
and a compendium of textbooks is meat
that feeds a man or woman,
and at a glance there is a feeling for each other
and should branch out beyond the boundaries of that lesson
until it passes everyone
and until an e, everyone can delight us, and us to them.
Now I tell what I learned in Texas
in my youth
(I won’t count the Alamo take,
no one escaped to tell about the taking of Alamo,
those one hundred and fifty are still speechless at Alamo):
this is the story of the cold-blooded murder
of four hundred and twenty young men.
In retreat they took the formation of an empty square, with the luggage as parapets,
nine hundred lives of the enemy that now besieged them,
nine times what they had in number,
was the price they charged upfront,
their colonel was wounded and the ammunition was gone,
negotiated honorable capitulation,
received sealed and written paper,
deposited their weapons and marched
prisoners of war.
They were the glory of the race of rangers,
without riding rivals, rifle, song, meal, gallantry, huge, turbulent, generous,
proud and lovable, bearded, sun-roasted skins, dressed in the free manner of hunters,
none of them was over thirty years old.
On the second Sunday morning
were taken in groups and massacred,
it was a beautiful summer morning,
the work started around five-thirty and by eight it was over.
None of them followed the order to kneel,
some tried to run crazy and to no avail,
some got hard on their feet,
a few fell over at once,
with shots in the forehead or in the heart,
living and dead stretched together,
the mutilated and undone digging the ground,
the newcomers saw us there,
some half dead tried to get out of tracks,
these were dispatched to bayonets or crushed
a young man not more than seventeen
grabbed his executioner until two others came to loosen him,
and the three were all torn and covered with blood
of the boy.
At eleven o’clock the burning of the bodies began.
This is the story of the murder of the four hundred and twenty
It’s time for me to explain myself – let’s stand up.
what is known I leave,
I call all men and women
forward with me by the Unknown.
The clock indicates the hour – but what does eternity indicate?
So we have exhausted trillions of summers and winters,
there are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.
Cradles brought us wealth and variety,
more cradles will bring us wealth and variety.
I don’t say that one is bigger and one is smaller,
what fills your time and place well
is like any other.
The jealous human species will have shown itself
or murderer for you, my brother, my sister?
I’m sorry, no killers
or jealous of me,
everyone has been cordial to me,
I do not account for regrets.
(What would I do with lamentations?)
I am a vertex of things done, an enclosure
things to do.
My feet hit a top of the stairs,
age bundles on each step,
and bigger bundles between the steps,
everything from the bottom up properly, and I go up
and go up still.
Aurora after dawn behind me
down far away I see the great initial Nada,
I know I was there,
I waited without being seen and always,
and in the lethargic mist I slept,
and I used my time,
and no harm has been done to the fetid carbon.
For a long time I’ve been curled up – long longer.
A lot had been my preparations,
confident and friendly the arms that helped me.
Cycles made my cradle navigate, paddling and paddling like cheerful boatmen,
to make room for me stars have deviated from their sockets,
influences were sent to spy on what would stay with me.
Before I left my mother’s womb,
generations guided me,
my embryo was never numb,
nothing could cover it.
For that the nebula was sustained in orbit,
the long slow strata huddled together
to nest it, huge plants gave it sustenance,
monstrous saurians carried it in the mouth
and put it down carefully.
All forces were readily used
to complete me and to delight me,
now at this point i get up
with my robust soul.
I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
and I have said that the body is no more than the soul,
and that nothing, not even God, for anyone is greater
than the person himself,
and who walks two hundred yards without will
has been doing his own funeral dressed in his shroud,
and I eat you penniless in my pocket
I can buy the best in the world,
and take a look or show a pod
on its branch confuses everyone’s learning
the times, and that there is no profession or job
that the young man following is not a hero,
and that there is nothing so soft
that doesn’t serve as a hub for the wheels of the universe,
and I say to any man or woman:
- Let your souls rise up calm and well placed before a million universes.
And I tell humanity:
- Don’t be curious about God,
because I am curious about all the things of God
I’m not curious.
(There are no words that can say
when I feel at peace before God and death.)
I hear and see God in all objects,
although I don’t understand God at all,
just as I don’t understand that anyone can
be more wonderful than me.
Why should I want to see God
better than this day?
I see something of God every twenty-four hours, and every moment of them,
in the faces of men and women I see God,
and on my own face in the mirror,
I find letters from God fallen on the street and all signed
with the name of God,
and I leave them where they are, because I know that wherever
that I go others will arrive on time
always and forever.
The spotted hawk falls on me and accuses me,
you feel bad about my conversation and my walking around idly.
I’m not even a bit accommodated either,
and I’m also hard to understand,
I sound my barbaric dialect on the roofs of the world.
the last step of the day is delayed because of me,
pulls the image of me after it stops and is faithful
like everyone in the disfigured shadows,
it takes me into the steam and the darkness.
I leave like air, shake my white hair
to the sun that is leaving,
I spill my flesh in swirls
and I leave it floating on lacy tips.
I plant myself on the ground to grow with the grass
that I love, if you want me again
seek me under the soles of your shoes.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
but despite everything for you I will be good health
purifying and giving fiber to your blood.
Failing to find myself at the first moment,
losing me in one place, go look for me in another;
at some point I will be stopped
waiting for you.
(translation by Geir Campos)
Whitman, Walt. Grass Leaves. Selection
and translation by Geir Campos. Illustrations by
Darcy Penteado. Ed. Civilização Brasileira.
Rio de Janeiro, 1964.