To A Certain Civilian
by Walt Whitman
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
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
And go lull yourself with what you can understand--and with piano-
For I lull nobody--and you will never understand me. 10