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Walt Whitman

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

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;
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

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Comments about this poem (By The Bivouac's Fitful Flame by Walt Whitman )

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  • Jane Moon (5/14/2009 12:36:00 PM)

    Lyrically written, Whitman reflects on the continuing procession of bivouac and ongoing war. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Howard (11/2/2006 9:56:00 AM)

    This is a solemn and compact reflection on a evening between the fury of one battle and the next. The scene is beautifully set and the reflection is profound. (Report) Reply

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