Walt Whitman Poems: After the Supper and Talk

English: Walt Whitman Age 65

Walt Whitman Age 65 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is for Roomie. Her birthday was December 6.

She once asked me, “How many negative emotions can you name?”

“Well,” I said, “There’s sadness, and anger….” and I ran out of words.

“No,” she said, having just discovered it herself. “There are hundreds!”

Lost to breast cancer at 45, I miss her still.


After the Supper and Talk


After the supper and talk – after the day is done,

As a friend from friends his final withdrawal prolonging,

Good-bye and Good-bye with emotional lips repeating,

(So hard for his hand to release those hands – no more will they meet,

No more for communion of sorrow and joy, of old and young,

A far-stretching journey awaits him, to return no more,)

Shunning, postponing severance – seeking to ward off the last word

ever so little,

E’en at the exit-door turning – charges superfluous calling back – e’en

as he descends the steps,

Something to eke out a minute additional – shadows of nightfall deepen-


Farewells, messages lessening – dimmer the forthgoer’s visage and form,

Soon to be lost for aye in the darkness – loth, O so loth to depart!

Garrulous to the very last.


1887  1888-9


Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

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