Pensive On Her Dead Gazing, I Heard The Mother Of All

A poem 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 ceased but the scent of the powder-smoke linger'd;)
As she call'd to her earth with mournful voice while she stalk'd:
Absorb them well, O my earth, she cried 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 growth and you, my rivers' depths;
And you, mountain sides and the woods where my dear children's blood, trickling, redden'd;
And you trees, down in your roots, to bequeath to all future trees,
My dead absorb my young men's beautiful bodies absorb 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 darlings give my immortal heroes;
Exhale me them centuries hence breathe me their breath 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.

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