Leaves of Grass (1881-82)

contents   |  previous   |  next



NOT alone those camps of white, old comrades of the wars,
When as order'd forward, after a long march,
Footsore and weary, soon as the light lessens we halt for the night,
Some of us so fatigued carrying the gun and knapsack, dropping
         asleep in our tracks,
Others pitching the little tents, and the fires lit up begin to

View Page 378
View Page 378

Outposts of pickets posted surrounding alert through the dark,
And a word provided for countersign, careful for safety,
Till to the call of the drummers at daybreak loudly beating the
We rise up refresh'd, the night and sleep pass'd over, and resume
         our journey,
Or proceed to battle.

Lo, the camps of the tents of green,
Which the days of peace keep filling, and the days of war keep
With a mystic army, (is it too order'd forward? is it too only halt
         ing awhile,
Till night and sleep pass over?)

Now in those camps of green, in their tents dotting the world,
In the parents, children, husbands, wives, in them, in the old and
Sleeping under the sunlight, sleeping under the moonlight, content
         and silent there at last,
Behold the mighty bivouac-field and waiting-camp of all,
Of the corps and generals all, and the President over the corps
         and generals all,
And of each of us O soldiers, and of each and all in the ranks we
(There without hatred we all, all meet.)

For presently O soldiers, we too camp in our place in the bivouac-
         camps of green,
But we need not provide for outposts, nor word for the counter-
Nor drummer to beat the morning drum.
contents   |  previous   |  next