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Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

Hours Continuing Long


HOURS continuing long, sore and heavy-hearted,
Hours of the dusk, when I withdraw to a lonesome and unfrequented
spot, seating myself, leaning my face in my hands;
Hours sleepless, deep in the night, when I go forth, speeding swiftly
the country roads, or through the city streets, or pacing miles
and miles, stifling plaintive cries;
Hours discouraged, distracted--for the one I cannot content myself
without, soon I saw him content himself without me;
Hours when I am forgotten, (O weeks and months are passing, but I
believe I am never to forget!)
Sullen and suffering hours! (I am ashamed--but it is useless--I am
what I am;)
Hours of my torment--I wonder if other men ever have the like, out of
the like feelings?
Is there even one other like me--distracted--his friend, his lover,
lost to him?
Is he too as I am now? Does he still rise in the morning, dejected,
thinking who is lost to him? and at night, awaking, think who
is lost?
Does he too harbor his friendship silent and endless? harbor his
anguish and passion? 10
Does some stray reminder, or the casual mention of a name, bring the
fit back upon him, taciturn and deprest?
Does he see himself reflected in me? In these hours, does he see the
face of his hours reflected?

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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