By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame

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by Walt Whitman.

  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.


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