I am the poet of reality,
I say that all the things seen are real.
I have split the earth and the hard coal and rocks and the solid bed of the sea,
And went down to reconnoiter there a long time, and bring back a report,
And I understand that those are positive and dense everyone,
And that what they seem to the child they are,
And the world is no joke,
Nor any part of it a sham,
For God does not joke,
Nor is there any sham in the universe.
I announce myself the poet of materials and exact demonstration,
The material world, and all its laws, are as grand, as superb as the spiritual world and all its laws.
I guess I am mainly sensitive to the wonderfulness and perhaps spirituality of things in their physical and concrete expressions—
There is a great deal of heavenly enjoyment in the world that quite attracts my attention from anything in the world to come,
And I believe I shall find nothing in the stars more majestic and beautiful than I have already found on the earth,
Not more spiritual, not more divine than this earth.
I suppose I shall have myriads of new experiences—
And that the experience of this earth will prove only one out of myriads—
But I believe my body and my soul already indicate those experiences.
I believe whatever happens I shall not forget this earth,
Wherever I go I believe I shall often return.
This is my first—how can I like the rest any better?
Here I grew up—the studs and rafters are grown parts of me.
(I suppose the pink nipples of the breasts of women with whom I shall sleep will touch the side of my face the same,
But this is the nipple of a breast of my mother, always near and always divine to me, her true child and son, whatever comes.)
I accept reality and dare not question it,
Materialism first and last imbuing.
Science, ships, politics, cities, factories, are not nothing,
Like a grand procession to music of distant bugles pouring, triumphantly moving,
Hurrah for positive science advanced, in grandeur and reality, analyzing everything!
Long live exact demonstration!
These are the philosophers of nature,
Every one admirable and serene,
Traveling, sailing, measuring space,
Botanizing, dissecting, or making machines;
Your facts are useful, they stand for realities—all is as it should be.
And yet they are not my dwelling,
I, who holds duly his triune proportion of realism, spiritualism, and of the aesthetic or intellectual,
I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling, my realities,
The witness and albic dawn of things equally real but not yet seen.
Realism is mine—my miracles,
The rapt promises and lumine of seers, the spiritual world,
What else is so real as mine?
If the spiritual is not behind the material, to what purpose is the material?
I fully believe in a clue and purpose in nature,
Enfolding itself all processes of growth, effusing life and power, for hidden purposes;
Sure as the earth swims through the heavens, with inscrutable purpose, some hidden prophetic intention,
Does every one of its objects pass into spiritual results!
Invisible spiritual results, just as real and definite as the visible, eventuate all concrete life and all materialism, through time,
(How can the ultimate reality of visible things be visible?)
The blossoms, fruits of ages, orchards divine and certain,
Forms, objects, growths, humanities, to spiritual images ripening,
Entering the sphere of the resistless gravitation of spiritual law—
All these shows to form and give identity and character to the spiritual identity, the real Being, which is immortal.
I see no object, no expression, no animal, no tree, no art, no book, but I see, from morning to night, and from night to morning, the spiritual.
I chant materials emanating spirituality,
In every object, mountain, tree, and star, in every birth and life,
A mystic cipher waits infolded—the indefinite, the immortal, sublimity.
As in the long chain of endless development and growth in the physical world, (yet with a curious oneness,)
So in the ethereal world an endless spiritual procession of growth.
The elevating and etherealizing ideas of the unknown and of unreality must be brought forward with authority, as they are the legitimate heirs of the known, and of reality, and at least as great as their parents;
Soft doctrine is as steady help as stable doctrine.
I believe that much unseen is also here,
How it is I know not, but I often realize a presence—in clear moods I am certain of it—
An unknown sphere more real than I dream’d, more direct, darts awakening rays about me.
What is all our material knowledge compared to the vast oceanic volume of unknown spiritual facts, the immensity of unknown being and facts around us of which we cannot possibly take any cognizance?
Neither chemistry nor reasoning nor esthetics will give the least explanation.
Then chant, celebrate the unknown, the future hidden spiritual world—the real reality:
O spirituality of things!
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings,
I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me,
From all that has touch’d you I believe you have imparted to yourselves living beings—
Separate countless free identities, now doubtless near us in the air, that we know not of—
And now would impart the same secretly to me.
From the living and the dead you have peopled your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me,
Prophetic spirit of materials shifting and flickering around me,
Contact daily and hourly that will not release me.
True, we must not condemn the show, neither absolutely deny it, for the indispensability of its meanings;
But how clearly we see that, migrate in soul to what we can already conceive of superior and spiritual points of view, and, palpable as it seems under present relations, it all and several might, nay certainly would, fall apart and vanish.
Have you no thought, O dreamer, of the terrible doubt of appearances,
Hast never come to thee an hour, a sudden gleam divine,
The sense of what is real, the thought if after all it should prove unreal—
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks,
(Men and women crowding fast in the streets, if they are not flashes and specks what are they?)—
Precipitating, bursting all these bubbles, fashions, wealth,
These eager business aims—books, politics, art, amours—
To utter nothingness?
Have you no thought that the conventional theories of life, worldly ambition, wealth, office, fame, etc., are essentially but glittering mayas, delusions?
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
I suspect all is but a pageant,
For there is a strange unreality about our lives here. What is it but a phantasm?
In best hours, the perception crystalline, what delusion, what a mockery, seem all these eager aims, these politics, amours, ambitions, these prevalent business aims that fill us.
Sometimes how strange and clear to the soul,
That all these solid things are indeed but apparitions, concepts, non-realities,
That maybe the things I perceive are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions.
Fear not, my brethren, my sisters, to sound out that conviction brooding within the recesses of every envision’d soul—illusions! apparitions! figments all!
What is the universe, with all its shows, what is life itself, but a vestibule—an exercise, a training and development—doubtless for something more real beyond, something in the future, we know not what, but something as certain as the present is certain.
Nay, who that has reach’d what may be call’d the full vestibule but has had strong suspicions that what we call the present, reality, etc., with all its corporeal shows, may be the illusion, for reasons,
And that, even to this identity of yours or mine, the far more permanent is yet unseen, yet to come,
Like a long train of noble corridors and infinite halls and superb endless chambers, yet awaiting us.
Yes, indeed, in our Father’s house are many mansions.
Mrs. Hatch says that first exists the spirituality of anything, and that gives existence to things. But Andrew Jackson Davis puts matter as the subject of his homilies, and the primary source of all results. Both are quite determined in their theories. Perhaps when they know much more, both of them will be much less determined.
I believe materialism is true and spiritualism is true, I reject no part,
I help myself to material and immaterial,
(No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me.)
When I see where the east is greater than the west—where the sound man’s part of the child is greater than the sound woman’s part—or where a father is more needful than a mother to produce me—then I guess I shall see how spirit is greater than matter;
I know that I cannot separate them.
Most writers have disdained the physical world, and they have not overestimated the other, or soul, but have underestimated the corporeal;
I preserve the equilibrium of the truth that the material world, and all its laws, are as grand and superb as the spiritual world and all its laws.
The physical and the sensuous retain holds upon me which are never entirely releas’d,
And those holds I have not only not denied, but hardly wish’d to weaken.
I will make the poems of materials, for I think they are to be the most spiritual poems,
I will not praise one without the other.
How shall my eye separate the beauty of the blossoming buckwheat field from the stalks and heads of tangible matter?
How shall I know what the life is except as I see it in the flesh?
Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are,
You furnish your parts toward the soul,
You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul,
Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more spiritual.
Matter and spirit are held together by a central and never-broken unity,
One consistent and eternal purpose.
There is a phase of the real, lurking behind the real, which it is all for,
The material is all for the spiritual—they curiously blend—bodies are all spiritual—
And the spiritual, most of all known to my sense, is for the body—and they also blend—
Melange mine own,
Wondrous interplay between the unseen and the seen.
NEXT: GOOD AND EVIL