The collection starts with three essays Whitman wrote to various newspapers, detailing his work with wounded soldiers in the Civil War, and those three essays are vivid, engrossing, and filled with interesting details about the field hospitals, the doctors, the volunteers, and the patients. I dress a wound in the side, deep, deep; But a day or two more—for see, the frame all wasted already, and sinking, And the yellow-blue countenance see. Born on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and a volunteer nurse during Walter Whitman was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. This poem is in the public domain. The neck of the cavalry-man with the bullet through and through. I never knew you, Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.
Walter Whitman was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. Again- 6 million horses and mules lost in the war. Individuals bear the cost of a war labeled as a national struggle. He raised money to be able to bring needed provisions to the men and carried a haversack filled with food and supplies--crackers, peaches, preserves, tea, oysters, tobacco, brandy, stamps, envelopes and note paper, fresh underwear and handkerchiefs, socks, and the morning papers. He has a lot to say.
What I experience or portray shall go from my composition without a shred of my composition. What stays with you latest and deepest? A lesson to us all in how to be good human beings. His letters home to his mother, brothers and sisters provide a rare glimpse into the soul of a man who was so dramatically affected by what he saw and what he did during the Civil War. Pretty gruesome, especially if you understand how horrific the Civil War was. Originally written in 1865, it was not published until 1876, when Whitman included it in a new edition of his ever-expanding masterwork Leaves of Grass there were several editions during his lifetime, each one longer than the last.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861 Whitman was in his early forties and not in a position to join the fighting forces. Let who may exalt, or startle, or fascinate, or sooth, I will have purposes as health, or heat, or snow, has, and be as regardless of observation. Leaves of Grass: A Textual Variorum of the Printed Poems. Since Private Derr did not write his letters in a consistent pattern. His subsequent poetry book, Drum Taps, reflects his change in tone. The book centers around the time when Whitman traveled to Washington D.
After a stroke in 1873, which left him partially paralyzed, Whitman lived his next 20 years with his brother, writing mainly prose, such as Democratic Vistas 1870. Whitman developed close personal relationships with many of the men he tended to in army hospitals. The hypnotic repetition of the opening music and the detached, searching voice of the solo violin in its highest and most ethereal register create the feeling of an out-of-body experience. The Wound Dresser is as far afield of the poetry as one could imagine. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. 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. The crushd head I dress poor crazed hand tear not the bandage away , The neck of the cavalry-man with the bullet through and through I examine, Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye, yet life struggles hard Come sweet death! His time in the Union hospitals between 1862 and 1865 influenced him and changed the tone and color of his poetry.
Any opinions expressed at The Listeners' Club, except as specifically noted, are those of the author. I hope you enjoy the history of this common soldier during the most tumultuous time in our nation's history. In an incantatory stanza lines 20—24 he conveys the reader into the hospital milieu. The Wound Dresser is as far afield of the poetry as one could imagine. I never knew you, Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.
The most important support provided by Whitman was sitting with wound and sick soldiers and providing comfort and support. This monumental work chanted praises to the body as well as to the soul, and found beauty and reassurance even in death. Whitman's futile search in Washington, eventually led him to his brother's regiment in the field and a reunion with George at Falmouth, Virginia. I don't mean we should love the gore, but this is what war was- how grateful should we be to him, there are so many, many, many first hand accounts by nurses exactly like this- almost poems by themselves, you know? When he went away to visit family in Brooklyn, he wrote back to the young men about his adventures. 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 roofd 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 filld with clotted rags and blood, emptied, and filld again.
After staying in Washington and missing the battles of Antietam and South Mountain, he was transferred to the Cherry and Broad Street hospital in Philadelphia, Pa in December of 1863. William Bland provides this description in the program notes to this recording:. His description of wagon loads of amputated body parts paints a very different picture of war. Interesting to get a view of the civil war from the grittiness of the hospital tents, and some of the historical elements were eye-opening. His health compromised by the experience, he was given work at the Treasury Department in Washington, D. George Whitman was a captain in the 51st New York Infantry and during that battle, was wounded in the face by a shell fragment.
The poem's persona is a stoical remembrancer committed to performing his nation's grief work; in his consciousness as in the poet's a tragic past is projected as a dream-like continuous present. Many of the letters describe mundane subjects and events but the subject of the war hid around each corner and was often discussed. In that the battlefield medic seems to speak with an almost loving longing for the dying soldiers. In fact, it shows us just how powerful poetry can be when it directs our attention to pain, suffering, and the human experience. The Wound Dresser is a window into the thoughts, and emotions of one of the country's greatest poets.
What stays with you latest and deepest? He did go to Washington and, after seeing the plight of the thousands of wounded from both sides, volunteered as a nurse. Genuinely do not mean to be awful, honest but the thing is, there's so much ' glory ' and ' honor ' and ' sides ', then politics discussed and screamed about. I dress a wound in the side, deep, deep, But a day or two more, for see the frame all wasted and sinking, And the yellow-blue countenance see. The Wound Dresser documents the many letters Whitman wrote home of his nursing care for these sick and wounded soldiers while in the field visiting his brother. They are looking for tales of heroism and martial glory.