The Return of the Heroes
4 When late I sang sad was my voice, Sad were the shows around me with deafening noises of hatred and smoke of war; In the midst of the conflict, the heroes, I stood, Or pass'd with slow step through the wounded and dying. But now I sing not war, Nor the measur'd march of soldiers, nor the tents of camps, Nor the regiments hastily coming up deploying in line of battle; No more the sad, unnatural shows of war. Ask'd room those flush'd immortal ranks, the first forth-stepping armies? Ask room alas the ghastly ranks, the armies dread that follow'd. (Pass, pass, ye proud brigades, with your tramping sinewy legs, With your shoulders young and strong, with your knapsacks and your muskets; How elate I stood and watch'd you, where starting off you march'd. Pass—then rattle drums again, For an army heaves in sight, O another gathering army, Swarming, trailing on the rear, O you dread accruing army, O you regiments so piteous, with your mortal diarrhoea, with your fever, O my land's maim'd darlings, with the plenteous bloody bandage and the crutch, Lo, your pallid army follows.)
Posted on 01/04/2015, in literature, poetry and tagged 19th Century Poetry, American literature, American poets, Daily Whitman, free verse, Leaves of Grass, literature, poems, poetry, Transcendentalists, Walt Whitman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.