Iota Subscript

Half mad with joy I ran my race
Just, just ahead of the threatening chase
And yet how happy, happy I
To know pursuit press hot and nigh.
" Follow! Come close, push hard! " I cried;
" You see me still unterrified:
Though panting, shaken, fugitive,
By that same sign I know I live. "

And there were some (I heard) quite merry
Claimed to have found me on the ferry;
Another said: " I have a hunch:
In Theatre Alley he eats lunch,
We'll find him there. "
But ah, my laddie,
Abandoning the finnan haddie,
Making escapement mighty fleet
I doubled into Vesey Street;
And in the tube, at Astor Place,
I slid the side-door in his face.

Sometimes, at dusk on Brooklyn Heights
Watching Manhattan's spangled lights
I utter a loud incautious Word —
Then, fearing I am overheard
And doubting whether, or by whom,
Make swift eruption toward Grant's Tomb.
So, in this city of my adoring,
This golden map of my exploring,
I fled and fled and ran and ran
Evasive of my fellow-man;
And equally awkward, shy, and odd
I felt toward my fellow-God.

Circles are curious to construe:
Do you chase me, or I chase you?
For, the more privily I ensued
Seclusion, I found multitude,
And knew, when I was most alone,
That all men's hearts were in my own.

I, perhaps the all-happiest man
Since modern miseries began:
Rebel, conformist, both in one,
A zebra, a chameleon!
How many me's can coexist:
The turncheek, the coercionist,
The dreamer and the angry child —
Blake and Babbitt reconciled!
Aye, in my breast I find them all —
Animal, vegetable, mineral,
Earth and Ocean, Air and Fire,
Renunciation and Desire:
Truly the inmost in o' me
Is tensile with antinomy!

It's tempting to o'erdramatize
This curious coil of Me's and I's:
The ego, that industrious elf,
Loves to boswellize itself.
The simplest words will have to do.
This " I " is not just Me , but You ;
And here, uneasy in its middle,
We feel the queer subjacent riddle.
Greek, Greek to us, indeed we find
The iota subscript of the mind.
And yet, and yet, I daren't delay:
What must be said I'll say To-day:
To-morrow — why, To-morrow might
Be all too late; and then to-night
Silent, sole, and free to write,
I shall be much too restless, I;
For Cassiopeia in the sky
Revolving in her easy chair
(Punctuated in black air)
Teases, teases me anew
With her great childish W ...
Whose initial is it, I muse?
And echo softly murmurs, Who's.
I love that cosmic monogram
( Such scrawl, my dear!) — and also damn
And guess each star that burns in dark
The dot beneath a question mark.

Some day they'll find you and come at you
(Somewhere near the Lightning statue)
Or snare you in a telephone booth
And force you to admit the truth.
Resolute men, sharp-witted, keen,
Will ask precisely what you mean.
Ah, but they must pursue me first
Along the road to Lindenhurst
Where, over miles of scrub and fern
The sweet salt breezes move; or learn
To trace my footprints on the sand
Of our old Moby-Dick-shaped land,
Our sea-rubbed Paumanok.
What speech
Men use at Asharoken Beach
Feeling the onrush of a sonnet
That curls and slides in parallels
(Fourteen foams of sense) and tells
More than it says. So ponder on it.

Fair arable soil (the guidebooks say)
We have out our Long Island way:
But ah, the earth where Walt was born
Grows something richer than mere corn:
Drive deep the share! In, inward hoe!
Tall crops of verses, row on row!

Happy, I said ... I won't revise
The word, or tell convenient lies.
I know with accuracy exact
How risible I am, how cracked;
For I was made (as I have said)
That Folly might be perfected,
That Ridicule might take fresh heart —
As Fool, I am a work of art.
As Fool I am not small or niggling:
I am the Fool that set God giggling.

I said the simplest words would do ...
What's true of me, is true of you.
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