Attached is an extraordinary poem by Walt Whitman. Notice that the poem is a Vigil; that is significant since a Vigil is held on the eve of a Holy event. For Whitman, this is not a poem of mourning even though the subject is death. Whitman is honoring the devotion of Civil War soldiers on both sides who gave their lives. He is also remembering all who have died. The older soldier says to the dead boy: we will “surely” meet again. As the sun rises, the soldier completes the burial of his comrade. And, though the poem doesn’t tell us what happens next, we know that the speaker has miraculously been reassured and walks away at peace knowing that he will meet this risen boy again.
May we also decorate and remember the figurative or actual graves of all the loved ones we have lost. The tenor of the Whitman poem is one of hope and faith in an eternal life.