Walt Whitman

By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame

BY the bivouac’s fitful flame, A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow;—but first I note, The tents of the sleeping army, the fields’ and woods’ dim outline, The darkness, lit by spots of kindled fire—the silence; Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving; The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily watching me;) While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts, Of life and death—of home and the past and loved, and of those that are far away; A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground, By the bivouac’s fitful flame.

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