Friday, April 11, 2008

Celebrate Gay Poetry! Walt Whitman's "Calamus"

So far we've done two weeks of GLBTQ poems here at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" and to celebrate this milestone in true National Poetry Month style, here's a poem I absolutely love:

from Calamus

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
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.

It's so wonderful to read this un-straightened poem above, in contrast to the self-censored "Once I Pass'd Through a Populous City."

And here's a link to the entry on Walt Whitman for you to check out.

I found this excerpt from "Calamus" on pg 31 of "Gay Love Poetry" edited by Neil Powell

What are some of your favorite Gay poems that we can celebrate?


Rita said...

This poem is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it, Lee!

I am loving National Poetry Month!!

C. H. said...

Yeah Walt! Hey, thanks for your comment on my blog! Glad you found it.