We hear of miracles—but what is there that is not a miracle?
All the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any,
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles.
To me every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
The gentle soft-born measureless light—the miracle spreading bathing all—seems miracle enough.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
That delicate miracle the ever-recurring grass,
Superb wonder of a blade of grass growing up green and crispy from the ground—
Every motion and every spear of grass, each leaf and branch of endless foliage is a lit-up miracle,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of a wren,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.
Whether I stand under trees in the woods,
Or watch animals feeding in the fields,
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or sit at the table at dinner with my mother,
Or whether I go among mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans, or to the soiree, or to the opera,
Or behold the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass,
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
And I could come every afternoon of my life to look at the farmer’s girl boiling her iron tea-kettle and baking shortcake.
O amazement of things—
Earth, rocks, flowers, stars, rain, snow my amaze, even the least particle!
What is more amazing than the sunrise, the day, the floods of light enveloping the fields, waters, grass, trees, persons?
There can be nothing small or useless in the universe,
The insignificant is as big to me as any,
The smallest the same and the largest the same.
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars,
If nothing lay more develop’d the quahaug in its callous shell were enough;
What can you conceive of or name to me in the future that shall be beyond the least thing around us?
I lie abstracted and hear beautiful tales of things and the reasons of things, they are so beautiful I nudge myself to listen,
I cannot say to any person what I hear—I cannot say it to myself —it is very wonderful,
Each foot out of the countless octillions of the cubic leagues of space being crammed full of absolute or relative wonders.
I am looking in your eyes—tell me then, if you can,
What can you conceive more wonderful than what you see around us?
Nothing can be conceived of by the fancy more wonderful than what we see,
But my eyesight is equally wonderful—
What is there in the immortality of the soul more incomprehensible than this spiritual and beautiful miracle of sight?
And I should like to hear the name of anything between Sunday morning and Saturday night that is not just as wonderful.
Come! I should like to hear you tell me what there is in yourself that is not just as wonderful.
Those curious incredible miracles you call eyesight or hearing,
The frames, limbs, organs, and spirits of men and women, and all that concerns them,
The wonder every one sees in every one else he sees,
Are unspeakably perfect miracles.
My miracles take freely, take without end,
I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you, or your eyes reach—
The sane, silent, beauteous miracles that envelope and fuse me,
Awakening me to know the most positive wonder in the world—what we call life.
NEXT: PERFECT ORDER