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As I Ponder'd In Silence

Walt Whitman 1819 (West Hills) – 1892 (Camden)




  AS I ponder'd in silence,
  Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long,
  A Phantom arose before me, with distrustful aspect,
  Terrible in beauty, age, and power,
  The genius of poets of old lands,
  As to me directing like flame its eyes,
  With finger pointing to many immortal songs,
  And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said;
  Know'st thou not, there is but one theme for ever-enduring bards?
  And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles, 10
  The making of perfect soldiers?

  Be it so, then I answer'd,
  I too, haughty Shade, also sing war--and a longer and greater one
  than any,
  Waged in my book with varying fortune--with flight, advance, and
  retreat--Victory deferr'd and wavering,
  (Yet, methinks, certain, or as good as certain, at the last,)--The
  field the world;
  For life and death--for the Body, and for the eternal Soul,
  Lo! too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
  I, above all, promote brave soldiers.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Walt Whitman

Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. more…

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