To a Certain Civilian. by Walt Whitman
DID you ask dulcet rhymes from me?
Did you seek the civilian’s peaceful and languishing rhymes?
Did you find what I sang erewhile so hard to follow?
Why I was not singing erewhile for you to follow, to understand—nor am I now;
(I have been born of the same as the war was born;
The drum-corps’ harsh rattle is to me sweet music—I love well the martial dirge,
With slow wail, and convulsive throb, leading the officer’s funeral:)
—What to such as you, anyhow, such a poet as I?—therefore leave my works,
And go lull yourself with what you can understand—and with piano-tunes;
For I lull nobody—and you will never understand me.