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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

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

poem

I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.

Loafe with me on the grass . . . . loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I

poem
I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city, 
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.

Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, 
   unruly, musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old, 
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays
poem

When I read the book, the biography famous,
And is this then (said I) what the author calls a man’s life?
And so will some one when I am dead and gone write my life?
(As if any man really knew aught my life,
Why even I myself I often think know little or nothing of my real         life,