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Spirit Whose Work Is Done

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

  SPIRIT whose work is done! spirit of dreadful hours!
  Ere, departing, fade from my eyes your forests of bayonets;
  Spirit of gloomiest fears and doubts, (yet onward ever unfaltering
  Spirit of many a solemn day, and many a savage scene! Electric
  That with muttering voice, through the war now closed, like a
  tireless phantom flitted,
  Rousing the land with breath of flame, while you beat and beat the
  --Now, as the sound of the drum, hollow and harsh to the last,
  reverberates round me;
  As your ranks, your immortal ranks, return, return from the battles;
  While the muskets of the young men yet lean over their shoulders; 10
  While I look on the bayonets bristling over their shoulders;
  While those slanted bayonets, whole forests of them, appearing in the
  distance, approach and pass on, returning homeward,
  Moving with steady motion, swaying to and fro, to the right and left,
  Evenly, lightly rising and falling, as the steps keep time;
  --Spirit of hours I knew, all hectic red one day, but pale as death
  next day;
  Touch my mouth, ere you depart--press my lips close!
  Leave me your pulses of rage! bequeath them to me! fill me with
  currents convulsive!
  Let them scorch and blister out of my chants, when you are gone;
  Let them identify you to the future, in these songs.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:08 min read

Walt Whitman

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

All Walt Whitman poems | Walt Whitman Books

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