Walt Whitman

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.

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