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poetry To a Stranger

In this season of gay pride and the varieties of love, Walt Whitman speaks to us on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

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Pride Flag Waves Over San Francisco's Gay Pride Parade
Pride Flag Waves Over San Francisco's Gay Pride Parade,

To a Stranger

By Walt Whitman

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, affection-
ate, 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 

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.