Walt Whitman: Poems

Drum Taps: Camps of Green


Not alone our camps of white, O soldiers,

When, as ordered forward, after a long march,

Footsore and weary, soon as the light lessens, we halt for the night;

Some of us so fatigued, carrying the gun and knapsack, dropping asleep in

our tracks;

Others pitching the little tents, and the fires lit up begin to sparkle;

Outposts of pickets posted, surrounding, alert through the dark,

And a word provided for countersign, careful for safety;

Till to the call of the drummers at daybreak loudly beating the drums,

We rise up refreshed, the night and sleep passed over, and resume our


Or proceed to battle.


Lo! the camps of the tents of green,

Which the days of peace keep filling, and the days of war keep filling,

With a mystic army, (is it too ordered forward? is it too only halting a


Till night and sleep pass over?)

Now in those camps of green--in their tents dotting the world;

In the parents, children, husbands, wives, in them--in the old and young,

Sleeping under the sunlight, sleeping under the moonlight, content and

silent there at last;

Behold the mighty bivouac-field and waiting-camp of us and ours and all,

Of our corps and generals all, and the President over the corps and

generals all,

And of each of us, O soldiers, and of each and all in the ranks we fight,

There without hatred we shall all meet.

For presently, O soldiers, we too camp in our place in the bivouac-camps of


But we need not provide for outposts, nor word for the countersign,

Nor drummer to beat the morning drum.