'Ashes Of Soldiers' by Walt Whitman
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Again a verse for sake of you,
You soldiers in the ranks--you Volunteers,
Who bravely fighting, silent fell,
To fill unmention'd graves.
ASHES of soldiers!
As I muse, retrospective, murmuring a chant in thought,
Lo! the war resumes--again to my sense your shapes,
And again the advance of armies.
Noiseless as mists and vapors,
From their graves in the trenches ascending,
From the cemeteries all through Virginia and Tennessee,
From every point of the compass, out of the countless unnamed graves,
In wafted clouds, in myraids large, or squads of twos or threes, or
single ones, they come,
And silently gather round me.10
Now sound no note, O trumpeters!
Not at the head of my cavalry, parading on spirited horses,
With sabres drawn and glist'ning, and carbines by their thighs--(ah,
my brave horsemen!
My handsome, tan-faced horsemen! what life, what joy and pride,
With all the perils, were yours!)
Nor you drummers--neither at reveille, at dawn,
Nor the long roll alarming the camp--nor even the muffled beat for a
Nothing from you, this time, O drummers, bearing my warlike drums.
But aside from these, and the marts of wealth, and the crowded
Admitting around me comrades close, unseen by the rest, and
The slain elate and alive again--the dust and debris alive,
I chant this chant of my silent soul, in the name of all dead
Faces so pale, with wondrous eyes, very dear, gather closer yet;
Draw close, but speak not.
Phantoms of countless lost!
Invisible to the rest, henceforth become my companions!
Follow me ever! desert me not, while I live.
Sweet are the blooming cheeks of the living! sweet are the musical
But sweet, ah sweet, are the dead, with their silent eyes.
Dearest comrades! all is over and long gone;30
But love is not over--and what love, O comrades!
Perfume from battle-fields rising--up from foetor arising.
Perfume therefore my chant, O love! immortal Love!
Give me to bathe the memories of all dead soldiers,
Shroud them, embalm them, cover them all over with tender pride!
Perfume all! make all wholesome!
Make these ashes to nourish and blossom,
O love! O chant! solve all, fructify all with the last chemistry.
Give me exhaustless--make me a fountain,
That I exhale love from me wherever I go, like a moist perennial dew,
For the ashes of all dead soldiers.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Ashes of Soldiers by Walt Whitman: A Literary Critique
Are you looking for a poem that evokes a sense of patriotism, sacrifice, and honor? Look no further than Walt Whitman's "Ashes of Soldiers." This poem, first published in 1867, is a poignant tribute to the thousands of soldiers who gave their lives during the American Civil War.
Form and Structure
Whitman's poem is composed of eight stanzas, each with an identical structure. The first and third lines of each stanza are written in iambic tetrameter, while the second and fourth lines are in iambic trimeter. This creates a rhythmic pattern that mimics the beat of a march, adding to the military theme of the poem.
Theme and Tone
The central theme of "Ashes of Soldiers" is the idea of sacrifice. Whitman reflects on the bravery and selflessness of the soldiers who fought and died for their country, and the lasting impact of their deeds. Though the poem is somber in tone, it is also marked by a sense of reverence and admiration for those who gave everything for their cause.
One of the most striking features of "Ashes of Soldiers" is its vivid imagery. Whitman uses imagery to evoke a sense of the physical reality of war, as well as the emotional toll it takes on those who are left behind. Consider the following lines from the first stanza:
Ashes of soldiers South or North,
As I muse retrospective murmuring a chant in thought,
The war resumes, again to my sense your shapes,
And again the advance of the armies.
Here, Whitman uses the image of "ashes" to symbolize the fallen soldiers, and the "advance of the armies" to evoke the chaos and violence of the war. This creates a powerful sense of the weight and magnitude of the conflict.
Several symbols are used throughout "Ashes of Soldiers" to reinforce the poem's themes. For example, the image of the flag appears multiple times in the poem, representing both the United States as a nation and the soldiers who fought and died for it. The image of the "drummer-boy" is also a powerful symbol, representing the innocence and youth of the soldiers who were caught up in the war.
Whitman makes several allusions in "Ashes of Soldiers" that add depth to the poem's meaning. For example, the line "Regiment wheeled in line, the shining bayonets courted with each other" alludes to the military discipline and precision that characterized the armies of the Civil War. The line "Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot" alludes to the devastation and displacement caused by the war, particularly among civilian populations.
In conclusion, "Ashes of Soldiers" is a powerful and moving tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives during the American Civil War. Through its use of vivid imagery, symbols, and allusions, the poem evokes a sense of the physical and emotional toll of war, while also celebrating the bravery and selflessness of those who fought and died for their country. If you are looking for a poem that captures the essence of sacrifice and patriotism, look no further than Walt Whitman's "Ashes of Soldiers."
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Ashes of Soldiers: A Poetic Tribute to the Fallen Heroes
Walt Whitman, the celebrated American poet, is known for his unique style of writing that captures the essence of life and death. His poem "Ashes of Soldiers" is a poignant tribute to the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country. The poem is a reflection of the poet's deep admiration and respect for the fallen heroes. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail.
The poem "Ashes of Soldiers" was written by Walt Whitman in 1865, during the aftermath of the American Civil War. The poem is a tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives in the war. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which has a distinct theme and tone.
The first stanza of the poem is a description of the ashes of the soldiers. The poet describes the ashes as "gray and pensive" and "as silent as the stars." The use of the word "gray" is significant as it symbolizes the color of the uniforms worn by the soldiers. The word "pensive" suggests that the ashes are a reminder of the soldiers' sacrifice and the price they paid for their country's freedom. The comparison of the ashes to the stars is a metaphor that suggests that the soldiers' sacrifice is eternal and will always be remembered.
The second stanza of the poem is a reflection on the soldiers' sacrifice. The poet describes the soldiers as "fallen comrades" and "heroes." The use of the word "fallen" suggests that the soldiers did not die in vain, but rather, they fell while fighting for a noble cause. The word "heroes" is significant as it suggests that the soldiers' sacrifice was not only brave but also honorable. The poet also describes the soldiers as "the noblest sons of earth" which is a testament to their bravery and selflessness.
The third stanza of the poem is a call to action. The poet urges the living to honor the soldiers' sacrifice by continuing the fight for freedom. The poet says, "O, I see now that life cannot exhibit all to me, as the day cannot, / I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death." This suggests that the poet believes that death is the ultimate sacrifice and that the soldiers' sacrifice should inspire the living to continue the fight for freedom.
The poem "Ashes of Soldiers" is a powerful tribute to the fallen heroes. The poem is a reminder of the sacrifices made by the soldiers and the price they paid for their country's freedom. The poem is also a call to action, urging the living to continue the fight for freedom.
The poem's structure is simple, with each stanza consisting of four lines. The use of simple language and short lines makes the poem easy to read and understand. The poem's simplicity is also significant as it suggests that the soldiers' sacrifice was not complicated but rather, it was a simple act of bravery and selflessness.
The poem's tone is somber and reflective, which is appropriate for a tribute to the fallen heroes. The poet's admiration and respect for the soldiers are evident throughout the poem. The poem's tone also suggests that the poet believes that the soldiers' sacrifice was not in vain and that their memory will always be honored.
The poem's imagery is also significant. The use of the word "gray" to describe the ashes is a powerful image that suggests the soldiers' sacrifice was not colorful or glamorous but rather, it was a somber and serious act. The comparison of the ashes to the stars is also significant as it suggests that the soldiers' sacrifice was eternal and will always be remembered.
In conclusion, the poem "Ashes of Soldiers" is a powerful tribute to the fallen heroes. The poem is a reminder of the sacrifices made by the soldiers and the price they paid for their country's freedom. The poem is also a call to action, urging the living to continue the fight for freedom. The poem's structure, tone, and imagery are all significant and contribute to the poem's overall impact. The poem is a testament to Walt Whitman's skill as a poet and his deep admiration and respect for the fallen heroes.
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