Monday, May 26, 2014

Walt Whitman: "A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim"

A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,
Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.

Curious I halt and silent stand,
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first
          just lift the blanket;
Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray'd hair,
          and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you my dear comrade?
Then to the second I stepand who are you my child and darling?
Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?
Then to the thirda face nor child nor old, very calm, as of
          beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man I think I know youI think this face is the face
          of the Christ himself,
Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies.

"A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim" by Walt Whitman, from The Leaves of Grass: The Death-Bed Edition. ©, 2008.  

Photography credit: "Aerial View of Arlington National Cemetery," by J. D. Leipold (originally color). Caption: "Shown in this aerial view is just a small section of Arlington National Cemetery's 624 acres."

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