Walt Whitman

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

Who Is Now Reading This? Poem by Walt Whitman


May-be one is now reading this who knows some wrong-doing of my past
life,
Or may-be a stranger is reading this who has secretly loved me,
Or may-be one who meets all my grand assumptions and egotisms with
derision,
Or may-be one who is puzzled at me.

As if I were not puzzled at myself!
Or as if I never deride myself! (O conscience-struck! O self-
convicted!)
Or as if I do not secretly love strangers! (O tenderly, a long time,
and never avow it;)
Or as if I did not see, perfectly well, interior in myself, the stuff
of wrong-doing,
Or as if it could cease transpiring from me until it must cease. 10

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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