Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

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

190. To a Certain Civilian

DID you ask dulcet rhymes from me? 
Did you seek the civilian’s peaceful and languishing rhymes? 
Did you find what I sang erewhile so hard to follow? 
Why I was not singing erewhile for you to follow, to understand—nor am I now; 
(I have been born of the same as the war was born;         5
The drum-corps’ harsh rattle is to me sweet music—I love well the martial dirge, 
With slow wail, and convulsive throb, leading the officer’s funeral:) 
—What to such as you, anyhow, such a poet as I?—therefore leave my works, 
And go lull yourself with what you can understand—and with piano-tunes; 
For I lull nobody—and you will never understand me.  10


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