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"...the stuff to start sons and daughters..."

Whew, that Whitman sure was a lusty beast.

It is I, you women, I make my way,
I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable, but I love you,
I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for you,
I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for these States,
I press with slow rude muscle,
I brace myself effectually, I listen to no entreaties,
I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long accumulated within me.

Reading many similar passages in Leaves of Grass, I doubt that "stuff" ever accumulated within him for very long, but instead was regularly disposed of, one way or another, together or alone.

July 30, 2010 in Books | Permalink


One of my professors referred to Whitman as "pansexual." I think that about covers it.

Posted by: beth at Jul 30, 2010 9:48:08 AM

If that means "anything that moves", I think you're right. At one point he fantasizes about populating an entire civilization, presumably with thousands or millions of appreciative female partners. Ambitious guy.

Posted by: Pete at Jul 30, 2010 3:50:45 PM