—By Walt Whitman
He faints, falls down a corpse,
a depressing corpse,
his lily face scarlet-painted,
and my tongue is inadequate
to describe the outlandish ochre
of the unhurt rest of him.
The heart, really, is rotten meat,
and the proof is
the soldier’s autumnal fall
in his springtime youth.
Intolerable newspapers black his name,
so I, too, know who he was,
as he was known to his comrades
and their diaries of catastrophes.
At burial, a brief violinist
serenades his bier.
When the shot penetrated his heart,
no one saw any pink flinching.
His morals never were overturned.
[Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario) 14 juillet mmxiii]