By a Bivouac's Fitful Flame

by Leonard M Hawkes

By a bivouac’s fitful flame,
I sit on frozen ground watching the night;
Sleepers surround me: tented, content, drifting,
And I think of other flames:

Those he must have tended long before me,
When death threatened, and love and hope and peace
Lay west beyond the sea;

Hunting fires: coals for cooking, the center of fellowship,
Comfort against encroaching autumn frost;

And wet winter flames when cold wolves lurked
Just beyond the fragile ring of well-tended brightness;

And too that flame that burnt once deep within me
When life was young, innocence real,
And the chill only to the bone.


Author's Note: Germinated by Walt Whitman's poem of a similar name.

Posted on 10/27/2017
Copyright © 2023 Leonard M Hawkes

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Brian Francis on 11/09/17 at 11:43 AM

I've always loved the poetry Whitman wrote during his time with the armies. You have honored him well with your word. Although according to the punctuation it is one big run on sentence. Thanks for sharing -- bf

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