By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame

by Walt Whitman

By the bivouac's fitful flame A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow--but first I note, The tents of the sleeping army, the fields' and the woods' dim outline, The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence, Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving, The shrubs and trees (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily watching me), While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts, Of life and death, of home and the past an loved, and of those that are far away; A solemn and slow procession there as I it on the ground, By the bivouac's fitful flame.