Sunday, 11 November 2012

Walt Whitman: The Wound-Dresser

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.

from The Wound-Dresser, 1865/7.

1 comment:

  1. That's very striking. I would have liked to show that to my tough old grandad who was ambulance corps in WWII and seen what he would have said about whether it caught his experience 80 years later. Thanks, I've been meaning to look up Wally for some time. :)