Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

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

302. Who is now Reading This?

WHO is now reading this? 

May-be one is now reading this who knows some wrong-doing of my past life,
Or may-be a stranger is reading this who has secretly loved me, 
Or may-be one who meets all my grand assumptions and egotisms with derision, 
Or may-be one who is puzzled at me.         5
As if I were not puzzled at myself! 
Or as if I never deride myself! (O conscience-struck! O self-convicted!) 
Or as if I do not secretly love strangers! (O tenderly, a long time, and never avow it;) 
Or as if I did not see, perfectly well, interior in myself, the stuff of wrong-doing, 
Or as if it could cease transpiring from me until it must cease.  10


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