Walt Whitman

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

When I Heard At The Close Of The Day



WHEN I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv'd
with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night
for me that follow'd;
And else, when I carous'd, or when my plans were accomplish'd, still
I was not happy;
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health,
refresh'd, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the
morning light,
When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing, bathed,
laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend, my lover, was on his way
coming, O then I was happy;
O then each breath tasted sweeter--and all that day my food nourish'd
me more--and the beautiful day pass'd well,
And the next came with equal joy--and with the next, at evening, came
my friend;
And that night, while all was still, I heard the waters roll slowly
continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands, as directed to
me, whispering, to congratulate me, 10
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in
the cool night,
In the stillness, in the autumn moonbeams, his face was inclined
toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast--and that night I was happy.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Paul Allen (12/12/2007 8:27:00 AM)

    The greatest love poem written in the English language. Sorry Shakespeare! (Report) Reply

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