Walt Whitman

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

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;
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

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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