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By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame by Walt Whitman


"By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame" is a poem written by Walt Whitman. This poem is about Whitman in the army. He is sitting next to a fire and, perhaps a bit nervous of his surroudings, is looking at some bushes move. He thinks the bushes are watching him. His mind is going through several different phases of thought. However, he's mostly thinking of home.

This poem is made up of only one stanza, but it has fifteen lines.


By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame

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 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 and loved, and of those that
are far away;
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground,
By the bivouac's fitful flame.

Next: Cavalry Crossing a Ford
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Literary Movement
19th Century


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