Walt Whitman: Poems

Songs of Parting: Pulse Of My Life

Not heaving from my ribbed breast only;

Not in sighs at night, in rage, dissatisfied with myself;

Not in those long-drawn, ill-suppressed sighs;

Not in many an oath and promise broken;

Not in my wilful and savage soul's volition;

Not in the subtle nourishment of the air;

Not in this beating and pounding at my temples and wrists;

Not in the curious systole and diastole within, which will one day cease;

Not in many a hungry wish, told to the skies only;

Not in cries, laughter, defiances, thrown from me when alone, far in the


Not in husky pantings through clenched teeth;

Not in sounded and resounded words--chattering words, echoes, dead words;

Not in the murmurs of my dreams while I sleep,

Nor the other murmurs of these incredible dreams of every day;

Nor in the limbs and senses of my body, that take you and dismiss you

continually--Not there;

Not in any or all of them, O Adhesiveness! O pulse of my life!

Need I that you exist and show yourself, any more than in these songs.