How Solemn As One By One

A poem by Walt Whitman

How solemn, as one by one,
As the ranks returning, all worn and sweaty--as the men file by where I 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!

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