Just another Looking for Whitman weblog

Where Jennica Found Whitman…

Filed under: finding whitman — jenny and walt at 2:32 pm on Thursday, December 10, 2009

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A Hand-Mirror

by Walt Whitman

HOLD it up sternly! See this it sends back! (Who is it? Is it you?)
Outside fair costume–within ashes and filth,
No more a flashing eye–no more a sonorous voice or springy step;
Now some slave’s eye, voice, hands, step,
A drunkard’s breath, unwholesome eater’s face, venerealee’s flesh,
Lungs rotting away piecemeal, stomach sour and cankerous,
Joints rheumatic, bowels clogged with abomination,
Blood circulating dark and poisonous streams,
Words babble, hearing and touch callous,
No brain, no heart left–no magnetism of sex; 10
Such, from one look in this looking-glass ere you go hence,
Such a result so soon–and from such a beginning!

(Leaves of Grass 1981-92: By the Roadside)

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