Whitman moved among squat hospital cots, His salt beard bright beside unseasoned breaths. He poured no balm of runic ode, but cool carafes Of water for the broken soldiers' ease, sopped blood From wounded piteous faces, knelt and prayed Hand in hand for a salvation he did not really feel Remotely possible. Hand in hand, he never told The heavy news that "der Gott ist Tod." They fought and died in youthful simpleness. "Liberty" was a word as wide as they, A torso-word, a wound-word, a death word Worth living for through all the battling stars Night-belching cannon or Springfield long-bores Could crack, pouring out their milky smokes No somnambulating symbolist could unfocus. The rose-shell ear of the exploded soldier Remains the excellentest vase for prayer's flowers. Myths are the poems of our intenser angels, Spread-winged griffins among molten smokes, Constellations constantly re-telling all, line by line, As they look down between dark-parted stars. It is in these stories, as they swerve, that we share Our remoter solitude and sublime source, Command with chants ruggedest happenstance, Fan piquant fable to flaming grace, and partake Of the painful wrenchings of our fate.