Walt Whitman
New York / United States
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The Artilleryman's Vision

Rating: 2.5

WHILE my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over long,
And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant midnight
passes,
And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the
breath of my infant,
There in the room, as I wake from sleep, this vision presses upon me:
The engagement opens there and then, in fantasy unreal;
The skirmishers begin--they crawl cautiously ahead--I hear the
irregular snap! snap!
I hear the sounds of the different missiles--the short t-h-t! t-h-t!
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COMMENTS
Ray Meinberg 25 April 2008
This is one of the earliest and certainly one of the most accurate and chillingly moving depictions of the effects of what today we call PTSD. As a veteran myself, I can't read it without a slight shiver running down my spine. Though never as wrenchingly effected as the protagonist, I can still empathize and recognize the mixed emotions towards the maelstrom of combat his unbidden memories evoke.
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