Oh to be naked!
My body? Yes, if need be.
My Soul, more than all else.
To be as I am. As small or as large as my Soul.
To speak truth, and scorn man’s wrath.
To laugh at convention.
To rejoice at freedom.
To be hated, as well as loved, for Truth’s sake.
To care no more for reputation
Than reputation cares for me.
For he who worries about reputation,
Has a reputation to worry about. To believe in all things.
To defy nothing but wrong.
To spring at the ivory throat of wrong,
And strangle it with bleeding hands!
To slay it in public or private.
To let the blazing sandals of the feet of the Soul
Burn every evil they tread upon.
To know that every reformer’s life is an avatar.
That reform is justifiable murder.
That every reformer bears a cross.
That the sword, and not the olive-branch,
Is the symbol of regeneration.
And that peace and harmony are its triumphs. To dip into mysteries,
To regard life as the Soul’s sacred trust.
To know that every longing of the Soul is holy.
That life, with the Soul predominant,
Is a noble mosaic, a bewitching arabesque.
To answer my mother’s call to my Soul
My sweet mother, Earth, who loves me!
To satisfy any desire I feel,
So long as I bring happiness to some other.
Not wanton waste of life, but holy use. To live as would a child, in its cradle, unashamed.
For they who feel shame have not grown wise;
They have lost the purity of innocence!
To do whatsoever my Soul suggests,
And do it openly.
To know that Thought is greater than words.
That words are but the shining garments of Thought.
To know that Thought creates.
That it is greater than the thing it creates;
That it creates Love;
That it is higher than Love;
That it is holier than Love;
That Love is Thought’s first-born.
Oh for the courage of Truth!
For the courage of honesty!
What beauteous nakedness in these! Only man can blush.
No other creature knows of shame.
Why have we wandered so far away
From simple honesty?
Who taught us so much that is shameful?
Or, is it only our vain imaginings?
Yet, after all, God is not shocked
At anything he sees.
Or else, seeing, and feeling shame,
He would not tolerate what he sees. To what extent shall I glory in my passions?
I glory not at all.
Nor do I reproach myself because of them.
I glory in normality;
In strength, and natural desire.
And when my soul calls on these,
They shall answer, and not shame me.
I believe in all that I am.
I believe in more than I am.
I believe in all that I should be,
Because Nature and God believe in me,
Therefore I am,
And, therefore, have I confidence!
Seeing I have been so honored,
Shall I have less respect for myself than God?
Shall I pervert and destroy?
Nay, rather I will conserve.
I will sacredly cherish.
Then shall I rejoice in my abundance.
I shall not know poverty. What a conservator is God!
And, yet, the abundance withal!
The normal soul is ever rich.
Poverty of soul, or of mind, or of body
Is a crime.
Nature punishes every crime.
Her honesty forbids dishonesty.
How merciful is nature! How just!
Nature is very kind.
Nature and I are happy friends. Now let me speak my mind to you.
One assertion of yourself, and you are born.
One fearless sentence, and you are strong.
One battle with your darling vice,
And you become a champion.
A knowledge of one fragment of Truth,
And you have entered heaven’s kingdom.
One glance of purity at a human form,
And you are saved.
One cry to God, and the answer of the universe.
One feast of true love, and hunger no more.
He who strives for happiness is a fool.
The wise man makes happiness for another. There is one forum to which all may go,
And be heard–the Mind.
One eager auditor–the Soul.
One kind old servitor–the Body.
There is more genius undiscovered,
Than genius to discover.
Not all of us shall have his song heard.
Some, who only rehearse the song here,
Shall sing it in triumph and honor
In Music’s ultimate realms,
Before all the great singers of Time,
And before the King of Songs.
The blackest murder is the killing
Of the Soul’s aspirations!
Ten thousand deaths do they inflict
Who strangle the ambition of the Soul! Let the drawn curtains of the House of the Soul
Be parted. Others need the sight.
How sensitive is the Soul! The tenderest dove
Is an adventurer compared with it.
The Soul can hear the violets grow!
It can hear the throbbing heart of God!
Who would scotch my Soul?
Who would make me afraid of myself?
Is a man ashamed when he bathes?
Of what should he be ashamed?
Not of what he bathes,
But of what he does not bathe.
Tears are the Soul’s baptism of cleansing.
Describe a smile, and you deserve immortality;
The pleasure of a kiss,
And you deserve them all;
The value of a tear,
And you have knowledge like unto God’s! Love is the sweetest, yet the saddest thing.
The portal of the heart is emotion.
Motion and emotion are kin.
I sob over colors as some men over music.
Music is the highest expression of any art.
All art resolves itself at last into music.
All life seeks harmony.
Love is the Soul’s exquisite vibrations,
Slow or rapid, sad or gay.
Love is the Soul at song.
All sense must have feeling, focus, form.
The highest form is harmony.
The fine art of Life is to make
Another Soul vibrate with a song of joy.
Technique is as elastic as Mind.
Perfection is as fixed as Divine Will.
The azure is alive with motion.
The Soul is most alive
When stirred by emotion.
The message is the thing! Oh to sing my song that is bursting my heart!
To sing it, and let others sing it, too,
Until such time as their own songs
Shall break the chrysalis that binds them,
And, on the lightest-feathered wings,
Go unto God who sings a deathless song.
Who would not journey thus?
And with my song liberated,
Go sauntering on to willing ears,
Enter in, and be at home,
Because of kindred life.
A vesper bell shall toll for the Soul.
Oh, take me, you who love sincerity and truth!
Take me, and embrace me. Kiss me!
I am but a traveler from the sky.
Home! Home! I journey to the only home I know.
The only heaven that I care to know.
There all is love. There all receive all.
Suspicion cannot flourish there,
Nor hate breathe one single gasp of life. Let me begin to undress my Soul before you.
It is as pure as thought.
It is as sweet as jessamine.
It is as melancholy as sorrow.
It is as merry as joy.
It is as clean as the running water
In a cress-fringed brook.
It is as warm as the human breath.
It is as open as the eye.
Yea, it is as clear, too.
It is as tender as love.
It is as yielding as the flesh.
It is as modest as the dew.
It is as chaste as falling snow.
It is as true as the stars.
It is as old as God, Himself.
It is as young as life.
It is as far removed from malice
As is death itself.
Lo, it lies white and waiting!
Waiting what? Waiting whom?
Waiting the one who can interpret it;
Waiting the one who needs it;
Waiting the eternal purpose for which it came.
Who knows its throbbing tenderness? Who cares?
Oh the pity of onlooking disinterestedness!
Oh the pain of unrequited hope! I stand in the presence of the Eternal!
I am not afraid. He made me thus.
He admits me to His sacred places.
He scorns me not;
Oh men, men, why have ye scorned?
Lo, some day we shall be striding together
Through the infinite worlds!
And you? I shall be helping you to the heights
That have been revealed to me through fearless thought.
I will unlock for you the iron doors of Truth.
You shall see all I see,
And seeing, be no more afraid than I.
And you will love me for my very nakedness,
Just as you will love Truth.
Oh, love me now! I hunger so. Let me be naked awhile before the holiest thing.
For nothing can harm me, but myself.
See, I am refreshed!
The shower sends its silver arrows
Into my warm flesh.
I am not afraid. I am renewed.
My Soul lives many lives.
Each life a thought, each thought a life.
I am but Thought.
See, now, how you would revile!
Revile me then. I shall hear you not.
A sexual blunder would you make of me!
Will God have need to breed thought
In dying protoplasm?
Thought is not born of flesh,
And needs not flesh to live.
It enters, only, into flesh as would light,
Or more potent still, as love. I pass into flesh. I am light.
Oh, let me shine in the dark flesh of eagerness!
Let me enter into the bosom of ignorance
And split it with my golden radiance!
The Soul’s dreams are titanic, not satanic.
Let me kiss Truth once more!
Let me taste the bliss of wedlock with Truth!
I would breed thoughts, but not in flesh;
For they would be but dead, and deadly things. I would suffice for myself,
And then for all who need me.
I make no cross. It is already made for me.
How gladly do I climb the Hill of the Skull
To die for Truth, since Truth has lived for me!
For death is but a passing phase of Life;
A change of dress, a disrobing;
A birth into the unborn again;
A commencing where we ended;
A starting where we stopped to rest;
A crossroad of Eternity;
A giving up of something, to possess all things.
The end of the unreal, the beginning of the real;
Not cessation, but continuance;
Not exit, but entrance;
Not destruction, but life;
How wise the plan of death!
Death sanctifies everything;
Forgives everything; understands everything.
There is light in the darkest room.
There is light in the blackest night.
There is light in the tomb.
There is hope in the darkest hour.
There is hope in the blackest heart.
There is hope in the dead.
How rhapsodical is the Song of the Soul!
It cannot bide restraint or measure.
Sweeter than melody, loftier than harmony,
It is music itself! Come, naked Soul, be never dressed again.
Go in unto God, more naked still,
And fear no evil, for He knoweth none.
Into His presence come, and talk of Life–
Your life of broken song.
What notes of joy He will supply!
He will not rob me of my Soul.
My Song, my Hope, nor destroy aught.
He will share His matchless Home with me.
And why not?
Did he not grant me here a Palace
In which to dwell, and shall I doubt
The value of a Soul to Him
Who found it worthy of a first solicitude,
And then a constant care?
Would He deny me now, when face to face? Alone with God! How shall I further speak?
I seem to feel the hush of Time,
The end of mortal things.
A thrill, unknown before, possesses me.
How near to God I seem!
Some larger purpose holds my view.
I thought to stay here,
Resigned, contented, all alive.
Oh bliss of fuller life!
Oh the sublime gestures of the Soul!
My nakedness to me is very sweet! Return me if thou wilt, O God,
To earth, or commend me to
Some other sphere if destiny speak so.
I feel the thrill of an eternal plan.
Lo, nothing is lost, not even Time that ceased!
It was the marker, Truth required for this day.
How sweet to be with Truth!
And, yet, still sweeter is it to be Truth, itself!
Funeral Poems & Readings
The Song Of The Soul
A funeral poem for comfort during unsettling times
The Song Of The Soul
Oh to be naked!