Walt Whitman: Poems

Leaves of Grass: Tears

Tears! tears! tears!

In the night, in solitude, tears;

On the white shore dripping, dripping, sucked in by the sand;

Tears--not a star shining--all dark and desolate;

Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head:

--O who is that ghost?--that form in the dark, with tears?

What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouched there on the sand?

Streaming tears--sobbing tears--throes, choked with wild cries;

O storm, embodied, rising, careering, with swift steps along the beach;

O wild and dismal night-storm, with wind! O belching and desperate!

O shade, so sedate and decorous by day, with calm countenance and regulated


But away, at night, as you fly, none looking--O then the unloosened ocean

Of tears! tears! tears!