Leaves of Grass (1881-82)

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(Washington City, 1865.)

HOW solemn as one by one,
As the ranks returning worn and sweaty, as the men file by where
         I stand,
As the faces the masks appear, as I glance at the faces studying the
(As I glance upward out of this page studying you, dear friend,
         whoever you are,)
How solemn the thought of my whispering soul to each in the
         ranks, and to you,
I see behind each mask that wonder a kindred soul,
O the bullet could never kill what you really are, dear friend,
Nor the bayonet stab what you really are;
The soul! yourself I see, great as any, good as the best,
Waiting secure and content, which the bullet could never kill,
Nor the bayonet stab O friend.
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