Mostly this we have of God—we have man.
Of God I know not; but this I know,
I can comprehend no being more wonderful than man.
There is nothing in the universe any more divine than man,
Before the rage of whose passions the storms of heaven are but a breath,
Before whose caprices the lightning is slow and less fatal.
Man, microcosm of all creation’s wildness, terror, beauty, and power, realizes the venerable myth—
He is a god walking the earth—man is a god, he walks over all—
That is what the oldest and newest myths finally mean;
Unless the Christ you talk so much of is present in yourselves, here and now, there is no Christ.
It is not consistent with the reality of the soul to admit that there is anything in the known universe more divine than men and women;
The soul addresses God as his equal—as one who knows his own greatness—
The soul, by its innate tests, must be the judge and standard of all things, even of the knowledge of God.
I can yet comprehend nothing so tremendous as my own soul,
I am awed even by its works,
There is no god any more divine than myself,
Not even God is so great to me as myself is great to me.
If the presence of God were made visible immediately before me, I could not abase myself,
If I walk with Jah in heaven and he assumes to be intrinsically a greater than I, it offends me, and I shall certainly withdraw from heaven.
O thou transcendent,
Thou pulse—thou motive of the stars, suns, systems, shedding forth universes,
How should I think, how breathe a single breath, how speak, if, out of myself, I could not launch, to those, superior universes, becoming already a creator?
Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from.
Why should I pray? why should I venerate and be ceremonious?
Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair, counsel’d with doctors and calculated close,
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds,
The scent of these armpits aroma finer than prayer.
Magnifying and applying come I,
Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah,
Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself,
Bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see.
To be indeed a god! To be this incredible god I am!
To have gone forth among other gods, these men and women I love!
What gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand?
I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light,
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever.
None has begun to think how divine he himself is—
The divine mind of man, the divinity of his mouth, or the shaping of his great hands—
Never was average man, his soul, more like a god,
No condition is prohibited, not God’s or any.
Anyone may know that the great heroes and poets are divine,
But red, white, black, are all deific,
They who have eyes and can walk are divine, and the blind and lame are equally divine.
I claim for one of those framers over the way framing a house,
The young man there with rolled-up sleeves and sweat on his superb face,
More than Kronos, or Zeus his son, or Hercules his grandson;
Lads ahold of fire engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars,
Their foreheads whole and unhurt out of the flames;
The mechanic’s wife with her babe at her nipple interceding for every person born;
The snag-tooth’d hostler with red hair redeeming sins past and to come.
What do you suppose I would intimate to you in a hundred ways, but that man or woman is as good as God,
Acknowledging none greater, now or after death, than himself or herself.
The sum of all known reverence, the fountain of all naked theology, all religion, all worship, all the truth to which you are possibly eligible, I add up in you, whoever you are, and your inherent relations.
When the psalm sings instead of the singer,
When the script preaches instead of the preacher,
I intend to reach them my hand, and make as much of them as I do of men and women like you, O yourself!
O god! O divine average!
There is no god any more divine than yourself.
Thou, thou, the ideal man,
Complete in body and dilate in spirit,
Be thou my god.