Walt Whitman

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

Camps Of Green



NOT alone those camps of white, O soldiers,
When, as order'd forward, after a long march,
Footsore and weary, soon as the light lessen'd, we halted for the
night;
Some of us so fatigued, carrying the gun and knapsack, dropping
asleep in our tracks;
Others pitching the little tents, and the fires lit up began to
sparkle;
Outposts of pickets posted, surrounding, alert through the dark,
And a word provided for countersign, careful for safety;
Till to the call of the drummers at daybreak loudly beating the
drums,
We rose up refresh'd, the night and sleep pass'd over, and resumed
our journey,
Or proceeded to battle. 10

Lo! the camps of the tents of green,
Which the days of peace keep filling, and the days of war keep
filling,
With a mystic army, (is it too order'd forward? is it too only
halting awhile,
Till night and sleep pass over?)

Now in those camps of green--in their tents dotting the world;
In the parents, children, husbands, wives, in them--in the old and
young,
Sleeping under the sunlight, sleeping under the moonlight, content
and silent there at last,
Behold the mighty bivouac-field, and waiting-camp of all,
Of corps and generals all, and the President over the corps and
generals all,
And of each of us, O soldiers, and of each and all in the ranks we
fought, 20
(There without hatred we shall all meet.)

For presently, O soldiers, we too camp in our place in the bivouac-
camps of green;
But we need not provide for outposts, nor word for the countersign,
Nor drummer to beat the morning drum.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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