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

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In Midnight Sleep


IN midnight sleep, of many a face of anguish,
Of the look at first of the mortally wounded--of that indescribable
look;
Of the dead on their backs, with arms extended wide,
I dream, I dream, I dream.


Of scenes of nature, fields and mountains;
Of skies, so beauteous after a storm--and at night the moon so
unearthly bright,
Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches and gather
the heaps,
I dream, I dream, I dream.


Long, long have they pass'd--faces and trenches and fields;
Where through the carnage I moved with a callous composure--or away
from the fallen,
Onward I sped at the time--But now of their forms at night,
I dream, I dream, I dream. 10

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002


Read poems about / on: dream, nature, moon, sleep, night, time, sky

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Comments about this poem (A Promise To California by Walt Whitman )

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  • Rich Miner (12/9/2005 11:08:00 AM)

    This poem is obviosly influenced by the civil war and all the wounds and carnage he saw in the hospitals. In this poem i believe Whitman is trying to convey to people the brutality of war. The sleeping at midnight part tends to imply that his dreams are still haunted by this. I believe he is just relaying the the truth of the war and letting people make their own decisions about what is right.

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  • Brian Scott (12/9/2005 11:06:00 AM)

    I believe Walt whitman talk about the civil war because he was nurse in war. I think he describe civil war real wel; l with desc'riptive terms like 'faces of anquish' and 'moving the heaps'. and the fact that Walt Whitman did not want civil war to be real for he spoke of it like a dream.

  • Sara Bridges (12/9/2005 10:58:00 AM)

    This poem is about a person who is dreaming in fantasy. they are dreaming of nature, pretty skies, trees, and other beautiful things.

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