THE POETRY ARCHIVES @ eMule.com PRINT CLOSE

How Solemn As One By One
by Walt Whitman


HOW solemn, as one by one,
As the ranks returning, all worn and sweaty--as the men file by where
I stand;
As the faces, the masks appear--as I glance at the faces, studying
the masks;
(As I glance upward out of this page, studying you, dear friend,
whoever you are;)
How solemn the thought of my whispering soul, to each in the ranks,
and to you;
I see behind each mask, that wonder, a kindred soul;
O the bullet could never kill what you really are, dear friend,
Nor the bayonet stab what you really are:
... The soul! yourself I see, great as any, good as the best,
Waiting, secure and content, which the bullet could never kill,
Nor the bayonet stab, O friend! 10