Walt Whitman Love Poems: 11 Of His Best Works For You

One of the most influential poets of his time, Whitman is most famously known for his poetry collection ‘Leaves of Grass.’ Many poets and other literary figures, even today, quote Walt Whitman love poems to express their emotions on various aspects of life. Love is one such emotion which he is known to have expressed beautifully through his poems.

Here are some Walt Whitman love poems, mini-masterpieces you must check out!

1. As If a Phantom Caress’d Me

As if a phantom caress’d me, I thought I was not alone walking here by the shore;
But the one I thought was with me as now I walk by the shore, the one I loved that caress’d me,
As I lean and look through the glimmering light, that one has utterly disappear’d.
And those appear that are hateful to me and mock me.

Here’s one of the more philosophical Walt Whitman love poems that talks about ones beliefs about the right and wrong. It talks about loss and its realization. It expresses how one feels when he suddenly realizes that the one whom he thought was walking by his side is no longer there. This is a feeling that most of us feel when we dearly miss someone we have recently lost, the kind that inspire missing you love poems, like his own. It is a feeling that’s hard to express or accept.

2. Fast Anchor’d Eternal O Love!

Fast-anchor’d eternal O love! O woman I love! O bride! O wife! more resistless than I can tell, the thought of you! Then separate, as disembodied or another born, Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation, I ascend, I float in the regions of your love O man, O sharer of my roving life.

Among Walt Whitman love poems, there are a few he’s written for his wife; this is one of them. He says she is ‘more resistless’ than he could tell. She makes him ‘float’ with happiness and the thought of them being together all their life excites him. This poem was a romantic gesture from him towards his wife.

[Read More: E.E. Cummings Love Poems]

3. Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City

Once I pass’d through a populous city imprinting my brain for future use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions,
Yet now of all that city I remember only a woman I casually met there who detain’d me for love of me,
Day by day and night by night we were together–all else has long been forgotten by me,
I remember I say only that woman who passionately clung to me,
Again we wander, we love, we separate again,
Again she holds me by the hand, I must not go,
I see her close beside me with silent lips sad and tremulous.

This poem is about how he once passed through a populous city focusing on all details to remember for the future. But then he finds a woman and all his focus shifts on to her. He says now all that he remembers of the city is the woman, very reminiscent of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry.

4. 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 by Walt Whitman is about the fear of not having your love returned. It is about loving someone deeply but not having the same feelings reciprocated. He writes that he too loved a certain person with all his heart but his love was not returned and thus he was now writing this song (poem). Quite a few Walt Whitman love poems feature unrequited love too.

5. To a Stranger

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.

One of the rarer whimsical Walt Whitman love poems, Whitman here speaks to a passing stranger with whom he feels he has a connection of another life. He does not know the gender of the person in the previous life but says they grew up together. He says they ate together and slept together and he does not doubt that they will meet again.

[Read More: Disney Love Quotes]

6. When I Heard at the Close of the Day

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,
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.

Whitman here speaks of the emotions of a woman who could not find happiness in her achievements of the day. She could not feel happy when she was applauded or her plans were fulfilled. She only felt happy when she heard that he lover was coming to town. Lying by his side hearing the sea whisper gave her happiness which nothing else could.

7. To One Shortly to Die

FROM all the rest I single out you, having a message for you:
You are to die—Let others tell you what they please, I cannot prevaricate,
I am exact and merciless, but I love you—There is no escape for you.
Softly I lay my right hand upon you—you just feel it,
I do not argue—I bend my head close, and half envelope it,
I sit quietly by—I remain faithful,
I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor,
I absolve you from all except yourself, spiritual, bodily—that is eternal—you
yourself will surely escape,
The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious.
The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions!
Strong thoughts fill you, and confidence—you smile!
You forget you are sick, as I forget you are sick,
You do not see the medicines—you do not mind the weeping friends—I am with you,
I exclude others from you—there is nothing to be commiserated,
I do not commiserate—I congratulate you.

In yet another of Walt Whitman love poems featuring ‘method acting’, he expresses the strength of someone who is about to lose someone dearly close to him. He speaks of how he deals with the pain and what he wants to tell the one who is about to die. He speaks of the strength of the person who forgets about the impending death and instead smiles. He tells them that he is there with them.

8. To You 2

LET us twain walk aside from the rest;
Now we are together privately, do you discard ceremony,
Come! LET us twain walk aside from the rest;
Now we are together privately, do you discard ceremony,
Come! Vouch safe to me what has yet been vouchsafed to none—Tell me the whole story,
Tell me what you would not tell your brother, wife, husband, or physician.

Walt here talks of the intimate conversations that one has with the special someone. He asks his partner to walk by his side away from the crowd, where it is just the two of them, where they can talk in confidence. He asks his partner to confide in him and share things which they never shared with anyone else.

[Read More: Unrequited Love Poems]

9. I Dream’d in a Dream.

I DREAM’D in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of
the earth;
I dream’d that was the new City of Friends;
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love—it led the rest;
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.

Walt Whitman love poems are no exception to futurist dreams. In this poem, Walt talks of a city which is free from the judgmental looks of the society. He dreams of a city where people are free to fall in love, free from the threat of being questioned or judged by others. He dreams of a city with hope and harmony where love is the basis of all being; undoubtedly another iconic choice among Walt Whitman love poems.

10. Are You the New person, drawn toward Me?

ARE you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning—I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?

Walt Whitman love poems deal with a lot of human emotion; and the expectations that people have from us. He questions in this poem whether it is easy for someone to blindly trust someone based on what is shown to them. He questions if the person really thinks that whatever he portrays is real. The poem speaks of how love attracts us to others based on what we see even if we only know the half story.

11. Of Him I Love Day and Night.

OF him I love day and night, I dream’d I heard he was dead;
And I dream’d I went where they had buried him I love—but he was not in that
And I dream’d I wander’d, searching among burial-places, to find him;
And I found that every place was a burial-place;
The houses full of life were equally full of death, (this house is now;)
The streets, the shipping, the places of amusement, the Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, the Mannahatta, were as full of the dead as of the living,
And fuller, O vastly fuller, of the dead than of the living;
—And what I dream’d I will henceforth tell to every person and age,
And I stand henceforth bound to what I dream’d;
And now I am willing to disregard burial-places, and dispense with them;
And if the memorials of the dead were put up indifferently everywhere, even in the room
where I eat or sleep, I should be satisfied;
And if the corpse of any one I love, or if my own corpse, be duly render’d to powder,
pour’d in the sea, I shall be satisfied;
Or if it be distributed to the winds, I shall be satisfied.

In this final choice of Walt Whitman love poems, Walt talks about coming to terms with the death of a loved one. He talks of a dream where the person sees the death of a loved one and all the world turns into a gloomy place. He says the dream shows all the world as a burial place where he couldn’t find the one he loved. He then speaks of accepting it and disregarding burial places. He says no matter what comes his way, he will be satisfied.

[Read More: Love Poems By Maya Angelou]

Whitman’s expression of love was always a talked about subject as his ways and means were different from the accepted norm. Walt Whitman love poems were not like those contemporary poems written by other poets which focused on the pain and sorrow of losing love. Whitman incorporated realism in his work which made it stand out from others. So which one do you like the most?