Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
—Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road, #15,” Leaves of Grass
Something touched me, lightly, like a knife-blade. I felt I was bleeding, though just a little, a hint. Inside I flared hot, then cold. I thought of you. Whom I love, madly.
—Mary Oliver, “March,” White Pine
I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.
—Pablo Neruda, from “We Have Lost Even,” Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
—Walt Whitman, “The Laughing Philosopher,” New York, April 15, 1887. Photo by George C. Cox.
If there is life after the earth-life, will you come with me?
Even then? Since we’re bound to be something, why not
—Mary Oliver, “If there is life after the earth-life, will you come with me,” West Wind
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
—Pablo Neruda, from “XVII,” 100 Love Sonnets
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.
—Walt Whitman, “Sometimes With One I Love,” Leaves of Grass