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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

214. Tears

TEARS! tears! tears!

In the night, in solitude, tears;

On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck’d 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, crouch’d 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 pace;

But away, at night, as you fly, none looking—O then the unloosen’d ocean,

Of tears! tears! tears!