When I Heard at the Close of Day

Walt Whitman - 1819-1892
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.

More by Walt Whitman

Sometimes with One I Love

Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse
   unreturn'd love,
But now I think there is no unreturn'd love, the pay is certain
   one way or another,
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return'd,
Yet out of that I have written these songs.)

A Noiseless Patient Spider

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

America

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons, 
All, all alike endear'd, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich, 
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair'd in the adamant of Time.