Walt Whitman: Poems

Drum Taps: A Sight in Camp


A sight in camp in the daybreak grey and dim,

As from my tent I emerge so early, sleepless,

As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,

Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there, untended lying;

Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woollen blanket,

Grey and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.


Curious, I halt, and silent stand;

Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest, the first, just

lift the blanket;

Who are you, elderly man, so gaunt and grim, with well-greyed hair, and

flesh all sunken about the eyes?

Who are you, my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step--And who are you, my child and darling?

Who are you, sweet boy, with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third--a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of beautiful

yellow-white ivory:

Young man, I think I know you--I think this face of yours is the face of

the Christ Himself;

Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again He lies.