Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods


As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet, (for 'twas autumn,)
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all I could understand,)
The halt of a midday hour, when up! no time to lose--yet this sign left,
On a tablet scrawl'd and nail'd on the tree by the grave,
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.

Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering,
Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life,
Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, alone, or in the crowded street,
Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, come the inscription rude in Virginia's woods.
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Jane Moon (5/14/2009 12:31:00 PM)

    After the Civil War, Whitman encounters the grave of a soldier and honors him, and long remembers this encounter in the woods. (Report) Reply

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