“When I Heard at the Close of the Day” by Walt Whitman

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,
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.

~Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems




Listen to (and watch) David Bauman read Whitman’s beautiful poem. David is a long-time supporter of Words for the Year and happens to be a pretty awesome poet, too. Stop by to say hi or to read some of his work at The Dad Poet.



2 thoughts on ““When I Heard at the Close of the Day” by Walt Whitman

  1. Brian Dean Powers

    Walt wrote some beautiful love poems. I wish he could have lived in a time when that love was free to be open and embraced.


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