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. 10

by Walt Whitman

Comments (3)

' While wind in procession........are far away'.....Those are the thoughts that have occupied peoples mind in all ages.
Lyrically written, Whitman reflects on the continuing procession of bivouac and ongoing war.
This is a solemn and compact reflection on a evening between the fury of one battle and the next. The scene is beautifully set and the reflection is profound.