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About this Poem 

Walt Whitman's "Sometimes with One I Love" comes from the "Calamus" poems, which are found in his groundbreaking and epic volume, Leaves of Grass. In his 1876 preface to Two Rivulets, Whitman writes that the poems were partially important in his purpose to achieve "emotional expressions for humanity." In his essay "Calamus" the critic James E. Miller, Jr. writes: "Though the poet celebrates adhesiveness and associates the love of comrades with some of the tenderest, most memorable moments of his life, he also sometimes reveals the pain he has felt."

Sometimes with One I Love

Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892

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.)

This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 14, 2013. Browse the Poem-a-Day archive.

This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 14, 2013. Browse the Poem-a-Day archive.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass and, along with Emily Dickinson, is considered one of the architects of a uniquely American poetic voice. 

by this poet



I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,
     this air,
Whoever you are, holding me now in hand,   
Without one thing, all will be useless,   
I give you fair warning, before you attempt me further,   
I am not what you supposed, but far different.   
Who is he that would become my follower? 
Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?   
The way is

That music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning, yet long
      untaught I did not hear,
But now the chorus I hear and am elated,
A tenor, strong, ascending with power and health, with glad notes
      of daybreak I hear,
A soprano at intervals sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense