Walt Whitman: Poems

Drum Taps: Survivors

How solemn, as one by one,

As the ranks returning, all worn and sweaty--as the men file by where I


As the faces, the masks appear--as I glance at the faces, studying the


As I glance upward out of this page, studying you, dear friend, whoever you


How solemn the thought of my whispering soul, to each in the ranks, and to


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!