Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

120. By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame

BY the bivouac’s fitful flame, 
A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow;—but first I note, 
The tents of the sleeping army, the fields’ and woods’ dim outline, 
The darkness, lit by spots of kindled fire—the silence; 
Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving;         5
The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily watching me;) 
While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts, 
Of life and death—of home and the past and loved, and of those that are far away; 
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground, 
By the bivouac’s fitful flame.  10


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