Walt Whitman: How Solemn As One by One [Washington City, 1865]

How Solemn As One by One [Washington City, 1865]

How solemn as one by one, As the ranks returning worn and sweaty, as the men file by where stand, As the faces the masks appear, as I glance at the faces studying the masks, (As I glance upward out of this page studying you, dear friend,     whoever you are,) How solemn the thought of my whispering soul to each in the ranks,     and to you, I see behind each mask that wonder a kindred soul, O the bullet could never kill what you really are, dear friend, Nor the bayonet stab what you really are; The soul! yourself I see, great as any, good as the best, Waiting secure and content, which the bullet could never kill, Nor the bayonet stab O friend.