Home  »  Leaves of Grass  »  120. By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame

Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

120. By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame

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.