for the one I love most lay sleeping by me

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.

Text: Walt Whitman, When I Heard at the Close of the Day
No. 11, Calamus, Leaves of Grass, 1860
Image: Photographer/subjects unknown, via varones/flickr

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  1. Your blog is just to beautiful for words.

    Posted August 31, 2010 at 2:33 am | Permalink
  2. Mark R. Urick

    My life partner David H. Anderson have been together for over 19 years now. I moved from Seattle, WA back in 1993 to be with him in Elkhorn, WI. Now we live in Florida. Thank you a million times over for your Blog. Cheers, Mark

    Posted June 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
  3. Oleg

    Your blog is great! Wonderful pictures and words. I live in Russia, where a law against homosexuality has been purposed (again) and the vast majority of people is supporting this law. We never could live openly anyway, due to extreme levels of homophobia in our country’s people, but now we will be considered criminals. Me and my family are really depressed about it, but even the little things like your blog somehow help us to deal with the horror of today’s existence in our country. Looking at the vintage photos, we know that we never were alone in the world. Sorry for my bad English and thank you!

    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink
  4. Katja

    Thank you so much for your pictures! I’m a girl from Moscow and it’s really hard for me to hear awful things people say about homosexuality. But you should know, that there is a lot of people here, who are tolerant and support human rights. Sorry for my english, I’m now 14, so it’s not perfect… Honestly, I am not homosxual, but your blog means a lot to me.

    Posted May 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink
  5. Générateur sur internet sans téléchargement, sans rien risque sobre virus!

    Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  6. Ever since I first dicovered this site, I’ve considered this to be one of my most favorite posts! I loved reading this poem – which also introduced me to Walt Whitman – and, like you intended, imagining the two subjects in the photo happily reuniting in their countryside home. Whenever I remember this picture, I can just imagine how cozily they are together, and recall the line/title, “For the one I love most lay sleeping by me.”

    Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

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