178 A Sight in Camp (1862) By Walt Whitman


A sight in camp in the daybreak grey and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early, sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there, untended lying;
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woollen blanket,
Grey and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.


Curious, I halt, and silent stand; Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest, the first, just lift the blanket; Who are you, elderly man, so gaunt and grim, with well-greyed hair, and flesh all sunken about the eyes? Who are you, my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step—And who are you, my child and darling?
Who are you, sweet boy, with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third—a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of beautiful yellow-white ivory: Young man, I think I know you—I think this face of yours is the face of the Christ Himself; Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again He lies.


Poems By Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman, Public Domain


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