Daily Whitman

Civil War Soldier Returning Home

The Return of the Heroes
  I saw the day the return of the heroes,
  (Yet the heroes never surpass'd shall never return,
  Them that day I saw not.)

  I saw the interminable corps, I saw the processions of armies,
  I saw them approaching, defiling by with divisions,
  Streaming northward, their work done, camping awhile in clusters of
      mighty camps.

  No holiday soldiers—youthful, yet veterans,
  Worn, swart, handsome, strong, of the stock of homestead and workshop,
  Harden'd of many a long campaign and sweaty march,
  Inured on many a hard-fought bloody field.

  A pause—the armies wait,
  A million flush'd embattled conquerors wait,
  The world too waits, then soft as breaking night and sure as dawn,
  They melt, they disappear.

  Exult O lands! victorious lands!
  Not there your victory on those red shuddering fields,
  But here and hence your victory.

  Melt, melt away ye armies—disperse ye blue-clad soldiers,
  Resolve ye back again, give up for good your deadly arms,
  Other the arms the fields henceforth for you, or South or North,
  With saner wars, sweet wars, life-giving wars.

Posted on 03/04/2015, in literature, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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