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

227. Sparkles from The Wheel


1

WHERE the city’s ceaseless crowd moves on, the live-long day,
 
Withdrawn, I join a group of children watching—I pause aside with them. 
  
By the curb, toward the edge of the flagging, 
A knife-grinder works at his wheel, sharpening a great knife; 
Bending over, he carefully holds it to the stone—by foot and knee,         5
With measur’d tread, he turns rapidly—As he presses with light but firm hand, 
Forth issue, then, in copious golden jets, 
Sparkles from the wheel. 
  
2

The scene, and all its belongings—how they seize and affect me!
 
The sad, sharp-chinn’d old man, with worn clothes, and broad shoulder-band of leather;  10
Myself, effusing and fluid—a phantom curiously floating—now here absorb’d and arrested; 
  
The group, (an unminded point, set in a vast surrounding;) 
The attentive, quiet children—the loud, proud, restive base of the streets; 
The low, hoarse purr of the whirling stone—the light-press’d blade, 
Diffusing, dropping, sideways-darting, in tiny showers of gold,  15
Sparkles from the wheel. 


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