Here my last words and most baffling;

Here the frailest leaves of me and yet my strongest lasting,

Here I shade and hide my thoughts, myself do not expose them,

They yet expose me more than all my other writing

From deep, deep down the words they come, I know not where,

But rise they soar above me and beyond whence I can aim

And where they root, I may not know, but grow they will and do

While I remain immobile, still and prostrate in exhaustion

For giving is my nature – all I know and love.

~ Whitman & Herrmann


From Calamus, (with slight editing) 1860, title (Here the Frailest Leaves of Me) added in 1867, with original first line restored.

Inclusive Edition Leaves of Grass, 1926, p.109

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