The World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman


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The World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman
(1819 - 1892)
From Leaves of Grass

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,
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;
The change onward from ours to that of beings who walk
other spheres.