Date of composition. The poem was probably composed 5–6 Feb. 1909. The date of 6 Feb. is given by WBY in MS2, which accords with the evidence of drafts in the Journal; in a letter to AG postmarked 8 Feb., WBY encloses a copy of the poem in its finished state, saying that ‘on Friday [5 Feb.] after I had been thinking all that day and the day before of what the world would be without you I made a little [song del.] scrap of verse’ (CL 5, 416). The versions in the Journal suggest an initial burst of composition, with the poem drafted twice, followed (after more writing in the Journal) by a return to the page to squeeze in a third draft. It is likely that the first two drafts come from 5 Feb., and the third from 6 Feb.