Pensive on Her Dead Gazing, I Heard the Mother of All. by Walt Whitman
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 ceasedâ€”but the scent of the powder-smoke lingerâ€™d;) As she callâ€™d to her earth with mournful voice while she stalkâ€™d: Absorb them well, O my earth, she criedâ€”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 growthâ€”and you, my riversâ€™ depths; And you, mountain sidesâ€”and the woods where my dear childrenâ€™s blood, trickling, reddenâ€™d; And you trees, down in your roots, to bequeath to all future trees, My dead absorbâ€”my young menâ€™s beautiful bodies absorbâ€”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 darlingsâ€”give my immortal heroes; Exhale me them centuries henceâ€”breathe me their breathâ€”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.