Thanks in Old Age

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from Leaves of Grass: BOOK XXXIV. SANDS AT SEVENTY - by Walt Whitman.

  Thanks in old age—thanks ere I go,
  For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air—for life, mere life,
  For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear—you,
      father—you, brothers, sisters, friends,)
  For all my days—not those of peace alone—the days of war the same,
  For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands,
  For shelter, wine and meat—for sweet appreciation,
  (You distant, dim unknown—or young or old—countless, unspecified,
      readers belov’d,
  We never met, and neer shall meet—and yet our souls embrace, long,
      close and long;)
  For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books—for colors, forms,
  For all the brave strong men—devoted, hardy men—who’ve forward
      sprung in freedom’s help, all years, all lands
  For braver, stronger, more devoted men—(a special laurel ere I go,
      to life’s war’s chosen ones,
  The cannoneers of song and thought—the great artillerists—the
      foremost leaders, captains of the soul:)
  As soldier from an ended war return’d—As traveler out of myriads,
      to the long procession retrospective,
  Thanks—joyful thanks!—a soldier’s, traveler’s thanks.

 

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