Read the Poem Jimmy Carter Wrote About His Storybook Romance with Rosalynn: 'I'd Hope Her Glance Might Be for Me'

The former president wrote of his enduring love for his wife of several decades in a recently resurfaced 1995 poem titled "Rosalynn"

Yvonne Hemsey/Liason Agency/Getty  Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter
Yvonne Hemsey/Liason Agency/Getty Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter's storybook romance with late wife Rosalynn Carter was once memorialized in a poem penned by the former president himself and resurfaced by the Carter Center on Tuesday.

"She'd smile, and birds would feel that they no longer had to sing, or it may be I failed to hear their song," Jimmy began the poem, which was featured in his 1995 book, Always a Reckoning.

The ode to his wife continued by painting a portrait of a younger, shyer Rosalynn, whom he began to develop feelings for. It alludes to him admiring her from afar but being met with aloofness, until she one day chose to be with him (the couple wed in 1946, and would go on to have the longest marriage of any first couple).

Jimmy concludes the poem, first published when Rosalynn was in her late 60s, by writing, "With shyness gone and hair caressed with gray, her smile still makes the birds forget to sing and me to hear their song."

Rosalynn died at age 96 earlier this month in her Plains, Georgia, home. According to a news release from The Carter Center, she died "peacefully, with her family by her side."

Related: Jimmy Carter, 99, Makes Rare Appearance at Late Wife Rosalynn Carter’s Memorial Service

Jimmy Carter Library Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Smith
Jimmy Carter Library Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Smith

The Carters' decades of partnership began when Jimmy was attending the U.S. Naval Academy, though they technically met much earlier when a 3-year-old Jimmy visited newborn Rosalynn in the hospital, as their parents were friends.

Wed in 1946, Rosalynn and Jimmy shared sons John William "Jack," James Earl "Chip," Donnel Jeffrey "Jeff" and daughter Amy Carter — plus 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The couple always leaned on one another during challenging times, with DuBose Porter, the Carters' longtime friend and political ally, once telling PEOPLE, "sometimes it's difficult to know where one ends and the other begins."

Related: Rosalynn Carter Never Knew Life Without Jimmy — She Met Her Future Husband as a Newborn

The former first lady was diagnosed with dementia in May, and entered hospice care just two days before her death. Jimmy terminated medical intervention in February amid his own health challenges and has been in hospice care since.

On Tuesday, President Carter, now 99, appeared at an invitation-only tribute service for his late wife, held at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the campus of Emory University.

President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and every living U.S. first lady — including Dr. Jill BidenMelania TrumpMichelle ObamaHillary Clinton and Laura Bush — also attended Tuesday's tribute service.

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