Pensive On Her Dead Gazing, I Heard The Mother Of All

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

   PENSIVE, on her dead gazing, I heard the Mother of All,
   Desperate, on the torn bodies, on the forms covering the battle-
         fields gazing;
   (As the last gun ceased--but the scent of the powder-smoke linger'd;)
   As she call'd to her earth with mournful voice while she stalk'd:
   Absorb them well, O my earth, she cried--I charge you, lose not my
         sons! lose not an atom;
   And you streams, absorb them well, taking their dear blood;
   And you local spots, and you airs that swim above lightly,
   And all you essences of soil and growth--and you, my rivers' depths;
   And you, mountain sides--and the woods where my dear children's
         blood, trickling, redden'd;
   And you trees, down in your roots, to bequeath to all future
         trees,                                                       10
   My dead absorb--my young men's beautiful bodies absorb--and their
         precious, precious, precious blood;
   Which holding in trust for me, faithfully back again give me, many a
         year hence,
   In unseen essence and odor of surface and grass, centuries hence;
   In blowing airs from the fields, back again give me my darlings--give
         my immortal heroes;
   Exhale me them centuries hence--breathe me their breath--let not an
         atom be lost;
   O years and graves! O air and soil! O my dead, an aroma sweet!
   Exhale them perennial, sweet death, years, centuries hence.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:06 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 1,418
Words 217
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 25

Walt Whitman

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

All Walt Whitman poems | Walt Whitman Books

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