Walt Whitman: Poems

Drum Taps: The Bivouac's Flame

By the bivouac's fitful flame,

A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow;--but first I


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.