|A Sight in camp in the day-break grey and dim, |
As from my tent I emerge so early, sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air,
the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there, untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woollen blanket,
Grey and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.
|Rising from a night of no sleep to a dismal gray dawn our unnamed narrator walks to the hospital tent and sees three dead bodies. |
Are these men he knows? Are they his friends?
Who are these men? Are they Union or Confederate? Does it matter?
|Curious, I halt, and silent stand;|
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest, the first, just lift the blanket:
Who are you, elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-grey’d hair, and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you, my dear comrade?
|The first is an old man. Who is he? Does he represent the past? Could he be the narrator’s father or grandfather?|
|Then to the second I step–|
And who are you, my child and darling?
Who are you, sweet boy, with cheeks yet blooming?
|Then there is a child, a young boy gone before his prime. Is this boy the future? Is this boy the old man’s son? Is he the brother of our narrator?|
|Then to the third–|
a face nor child, nor old, very calm, as of beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man, I think I know you–I think this face of yours is the face of the Christ himself;
Dead and divine, and brother of all, and here again he lies.
|A man with a wooden-ivory complexion like that of a cross. Is this Christ? Has the war caused God to abandon man? Or has christ come again in order to take on the sins of the world one more time?|