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Walt Whitman's Anti-War Poem, "Come Up From The Fields, Father," With Reading On Public Domain MP3

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Come up from the Fields, Father
Walt Whitman (1819-1892), Leaves of Grass, 1900.



COME up from the fields, father, here's
a letter from our Pete;
And come to the front door, mother, here's
a letter from thy dear son.


Lo, 'tis autumn;
Lo, where the trees, deeper green,
yellower and redder,
Cool and sweeten Ohio's villages, with
leaves fluttering in the moderate wind;
Where apples ripe in the orchards hang,
and grapes on the trellis'd vines;
(Smell you the smell of the grapes on
the vines?
Smell you the buckwheat, where the bees
were lately buzzing?)

Above all, lo, the sky, so calm, so transparent
after the rain, and with wondrous clouds;
Below, too, all calm, all vital and beautiful,
and the farm prospers well.


Down in the fields all prospers well;
But now from the fields come, father, come
at the daughter's call;
And come to the entry, mother, to the front door
come, right away.

Fast as she can she hurries, something ominous,
her steps trembling;
She does not tarry to smoothe her hair, nor
adjust her cap.

Open the envelope quickly;
O this is not our son's writing, yet his name
is sign'd;
O a strange hand writes for our dear son. O stricken
mother's soul!
All swims before her eyes,flashes with black,
she catches the main words only;
Sentences broken, "gun-shot wound in the breast,
cavalry skirmish, taken to hospital,
At present low, but will soon be better."


Ah, now, the single figure to me,
Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio, with all its
cities and farms,
Sickly white in the face, and dull in the head,
very faint,
By the jamb of a door leans.

"Grieve not so, dear mother," (the just-grown
daughter speaks through her sobs;
The little sisters huddle around, speechless
and dismay'd;)
"See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will
soon be better."


Alas, poor boy, he will never be better, (nor
may-be needs to be better, that brave and simple soul;)
While they stand at home at the door, he is dead already;
The only son is dead.

But the mother needs to be better;
She, with thin form, presently drest in black;
By day her meals untouch'd, then at night fitfully
sleeping, often waking,
In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one
deep longing,
O that she might withdraw unnoticed, silent from life,
escape and withdraw,
To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son.


Provided by Rev. Bill McGinnis
Public Domain


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Rev. Bill McGinnis is an Internet Christian minister, writer and publisher. He is Director of, a small private think tank in Alexandria, Virginia, and all of its related websites, including (more...)
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