National Poetry Month: To A Stranger

I’ve always loved Walt Whitman. He was a renaissance rebel and gay man back in the 1800’s. Walt Whitman is a remarkable poet and another free verse poet that inspired Ginsberg and the Beat Generation.

I started off this month with a story about how a boy once wooed me and won my heart with poetry. “To A Stranger” from Leaves Of Grass is the first poem he had sent me.

The poem was a lovely, untraditional ice breaker. It’s filled with romantic overture. Now, the relationship died and he’s become a stranger to me so now this poem serves a dual purpose for me.

“To A Stranger” — Walt Whitman

Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.


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