The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Monday and O Canada


The Wound Dresser: 2
By Walt Whitman

O maidens and young men I love and that love me,
What you ask of my days those the strangest and sudden your talking recalls,
Soldier alert I arrive after a long march cover’d with sweat and dust,
In the nick of time I come, plunge in the fight, loudly shout in the rush of successful charge,
Enter the captur’d works—yet lo, like a swift running river they fade,
Pass and are gone they fade—I dwell not on soldiers’ perils or soldiers’ joys,
(Both I remember well—many of the hardships, few the joys, yet I was content.)

But in silence, in dreams’ projections,
While the world of gain and appearance and mirth goes on,
So soon what is over forgotten, and waves wash the imprints off the sand,
With hinged knees returning I enter the doors, (while for you up there,
Whoever you are, follow without noise and be of strong heart.)

Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,
Straight and swift to my wounded I go,
Where they lie on the ground after the battle brought in,
Where their priceless blood reddens the grass, the ground,
Or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof’d hospital,
To the long rows of cots up and down each side I return,
To each and all one after another I draw near, not one do I miss,
An attendant follows holding a tray, he carries a refuse pail,
Soon to be fill’d with clotted rags and blood, emptied, and fill’d again.

I onward go, I stop,
With hinged knees and steady hand to dress wounds,
I am firm with each, the pangs are sharp yet unavoidable,
One turns to me his appealing eyes—poor boy! I never knew you,
Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.

--------

Sunday was an utterly gorgeous day -- not too warm, not humid, roses coming into bloom around the neighborhood as the peonies fade. I spent the morning catching up with my kids on the protests in their respective cities (scary in SF under curfew, where Adam lives a block from City Hall and the shop next door was boarded up after other stores were set on fire; they couldn't walk their dog). After lunch, we went for a walk with my parents in their neighborhood, which has lots of trees so it was shady and lovely. Then I came home and chatted with friends from fandom about politics and other madness for a couple of hours before reconnecting with my kids to make sure they were safe.

We watched the Lord of the Rings cast's group Zoom on Josh Gad's YouTube channel, which is utterly glorious -- so good not only to see them but to see that many of them have remained friends -- before this week's Billions, which feels like a ridiculous planet of detestable privileged people even more than usual now, and Snowpiercer, which feels more real-world than the film in terms of how people speak and interact, plus I love Connelly and Diggs (and didn't know Sean Bean would be in this season!). I have a very early lab appointment tomorrow which I'm nervous about (the social distancing, not the test), so have some more glorious Canadian Rockies from the '80s:

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