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