What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
Poets to ComePOETS to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!Not to-day is to justify me, and answer what I am for;But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known,Arouse! Arousefor you must justify meyou must answer.I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,I but advance a moment, only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.I am a man who, sauntering along, without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you, and then averts his face,Leaving it to you to prove and define it,Expecting the main things from you.
Too many poets act like a middle-aged mother trying to get her kids to eat too much cooked meat, and potatoes with drippings (tears). I don't give a damn whether they eat or not. Forced feeding leads to excessive thinness (effete). Nobody should experience anything they don't need to, if they don't need poetry bully for them. I like the movies too. And after all, only Whitman and Crane and Williams, of the American poets, are better than the movies.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition, they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, they do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago.
One's-Self I Sing One's-self I sing, a simple separate person, Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse. Of physiology from top to toe I sing, Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say the Form complete is worthier far, The Female equally with the Male I sing. Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine, The Modern Man I sing.