Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass
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Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

217. The World Below the Brine


THE world below the brine; 
Forests at the bottom of the sea—the branches and leaves, 
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds—the thick tangle, the openings, and the pink turf, 
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold—the play of light through the water, 
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks—coral, gluten, grass, rushes—and the aliment of the swimmers,         5
Sluggish existences grazing there, suspended, or slowly crawling close to the bottom, 
The sperm-whale at the surface, blowing air and spray, or disporting with his flukes, 
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray; 
Passions there—wars, pursuits, tribes—sight in those ocean-depths—breathing that thick-breathing air, as so many do; 
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed by beings like us, who walk this sphere;  10
The change onward from ours, to that of beings who walk other spheres. 


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