Treasure Island

Walt Whitman

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

Bathed In War's Perfume


BATHED in war's perfume--delicate flag!
(Should the days needing armies, needing fleets, come again,)
O to hear you call the sailors and the soldiers! flag like a
beautiful woman!
O to hear the tramp, tramp, of a million answering men! O the ships
they arm with joy!
O to see you leap and beckon from the tall masts of ships!
O to see you peering down on the sailors on the decks!
Flag like the eyes of women.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Paul Matteo (12/15/2005 10:27:00 AM)

    The poem is talking about how a flag is beckoning men to ships before a war. It also seems that the flag is compared to a woman, but i don't quite understand that. Maybe it is that men are attracted to women, and the flag is attracting men to war. Also the poem seems to be joyous over the fact of preparing for war, which i don't understand either, sorry to all who read this, i wish i could analyze this better. (Report) Reply

  • Mallory Goodman (12/13/2005 2:02:00 PM)

    In this poem Whitman seems to be comparing women to a flag that has been through many wars and battles. Some women wear lots of perfume and he may be comparing that to a flag that has been through many battles and is probably torn and ragged but still flies high. (Report) Reply

  • Stacey Chaney (12/9/2005 11:10:00 AM)

    I'm sure there is some deeper meaning that I'm missing but from the outside it seems that he is comparing women and war. I'm sure some how that is supposed to be complimentary but I don't see it. (Report) Reply

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