As Toilsome I Wander'D Virginia's Woods

As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet, (for 'twas autumn,)
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all I could understand,)
The halt of a midday hour, when up! no time to lose--yet this sign left,
On a tablet scrawl'd and nail'd on the tree by the grave,
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.

Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering,
Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life,
Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, alone, or in the crowded street,
Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, come the inscription rude in Virginia's woods.
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.

by Walt Whitman

Comments (2)

Haunting. Whitman is absolutely haunted by the death of men in war. He shares these feelings with us so well that now we are haunted by that grave of a soldier found in an autumn stroll through the woods
After the Civil War, Whitman encounters the grave of a soldier and honors him, and long remembers this encounter in the woods.