I knew it the first of the summer,
I knew it the same at the end,
That you and your love were plighted,
But couldn’t you be my friend?
Couldn’t we sit in the twilight,
Couldn’t we walk on the shore
With only a pleasant friendship
To bind us, and nothing more?

There was not a word of folly
Spoken between us two,
Though we lingered oft in the garden
Till the roses were wet with dew.
We touched on a thousand subjects —
The moon and the worlds above, –
And our talk was tinctured with science,
And everything else, save love.

A wholly Platonic friendship
You said I had proven to you
Could bind a man and a woman
The whole long season through,
With never a thought of flirting,
Though both were in their youth,
What would you have said, my lady,
If you had known the truth!

What would you have done, I wonder,
Had I gone on my knees to you
And told you my passionate story,
There in the dusk and the dew?
My burning, burdensome story,
Hidden and hushed so long —
My story of hopeless loving —
Say, would you have thought it wrong?

But I fought with my heart and conquered,
I hid my wound from sight;
You were going away in the morning,
And I said a calm goodnight.
But now when I sit in the twilight,
Or when I walk by the sea
That friendship, quite Platonic,
Comes surging over me.
And a passionate longing fills me
For the roses, the dusk, the dew;
For the beautiful summer vanished,
For the moonlight walks — and you.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem Platonic


  1. Jessica says:

    Wow…this poem hit deep. It was the most beautiful poem I have read in a while, and I intend to read it more and more.

  2. Nancy Rudkin says:

    Wisdom most relevant to our times, and desperately needed today.. If this attitude could be taught and spread universally it would rid the world of ceaseless stupid sectarian violence that leads to suicide bombings and other atrocities based on “the narrow pane of one poor creed” that Wilcox condemns in this poem.

  3. Angela says:

    I just wanted to say that your poem has a simple way of reminding us all of that one person that we all at one time have had,that friend that was solely platonic,yet in our own thoughts our desire to know if we could be more hangs there on the edge of our heartstrings,and to read Platonic made me think of that once was,that was once upon a time for me,i have’nt seen him in probably 8-9 years except for in my mind,and this just gave me a morning full of sweet memories that i had not thought of in some time,how sweet this day shall be,THANK YOU!! Angela

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