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Pensive on her dead gazing I heard the Mother of All,
Desperate on the torn bodies, on the forms covering the battlefields
(As the last gun ceased, but the scent of the powder-smoke linger’d,)
As she call’d to her earth with mournful voice while she stalk’d,
Absorb them well O my earth, she cried, I charge you lose not my
sons, lose not an atom,
And you streams absorb them well, taking their dear blood,
And you local spots, and you airs that swim above lightly impalpable,
And all you essences of soil and growth, and you my rivers’ depths,
And you mountain sides, and the woods where my dear children’s
blood trickling redden’d,
And you trees down in your roots to bequeath to all future trees,
My dead absorb or South or North–my young men’s bodies absorb,
and their precious precious blood,
Which holding in trust for me faithfully back again give me many a
year hence,
In unseen essence and odor of surface and grass, centuries hence,
In blowing airs from the fields back again give me my darlings, give
my immortal heroes,
Exhale me them centuries hence, breathe me their breath, let not an
atom be lost,
O years and graves! O air and soil! O my dead, an aroma sweet!
Exhale them perennial sweet death, years, centuries hence.

COMMENTARY: The beginning of the poem is ominous, with an unidentified woman staring at the results of the war. I have a feeling that the woman and mother of all is actually  mother nature. The author draws you into the poem making the reader feel sympathetic for the earth, and the dead soldiers. This poems reminds me allot of the previous poem I just read, Ashes of Soldiers. I noticed that both poems were titled with the first few lines of the poem. The tone of the poem is very serious, informing the reader of what is happening to the earth as a result of the war. The poem draws to an end with a ode to everything that has been destroyed in battle.
The author again to be neutral in the war. He is writing about each the North and South dead bodies. I do not think that he particularly favors war. If he was for war he would focus more on the glory of fighting and the men who have become heroes through war. Instead he focuses on the destructiveness of war, and death. Death is a very negative aspect of war, so the reader can guess that the author dislikes the ideal of fighting. Again in this poem he focused on nature. He actually is talking to nature this year writing “you trees” and “you rivers” which I interpreter as personification

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Posted by on March 5, 2010 in Whitman's Civil War Poetry



Ashes of Soldiers: Walt Whitman Poetry


Ashes of soldiers South or North,
As I muse retrospective murmuring a chant in thought,
The war resumes, again to my sense your shapes,
And again the advance of the armies.
Noiseless as mists and vapors,
From their graves in the trenches ascending,
From cemeteries all through Virginia and Tennessee,
From every point of the compass out of the countless graves,
In wafted clouds, in myriads large, or squads of twos or threes or
single ones they come,
And silently gather round me.
Now sound no note O trumpeters,
Not at the head of my cavalry parading on spirited horses,
With sabres drawn and glistening, and carbines by their thighs, (ah
my brave horsemen!
My handsome tan-faced horsemen! what life, what joy and pride,
With all the perils were yours.)
Nor you drummers, neither at reveille at dawn,
Nor the long roll alarming the camp, nor even the muffled beat for burial,
Nothing from you this time O drummers bearing my warlike drums.
But aside from these and the marts of wealth and the crowded promenade,
Admitting around me comrades close unseen by the rest and voiceless,
The slain elate and alive again, the dust and debris alive,
I chant this chant of my silent soul in the name of all dead soldiers.
Faces so pale with wondrous eyes, very dear, gather closer yet,
Draw close, but speak not.
Phantoms of countless lost,
Invisible to the rest henceforth become my companions,
Follow me ever–desert me not while I live.
Sweet are the blooming cheeks of the living–sweet are the musical
voices sounding,
But sweet, ah sweet, are the dead with their silent eyes.
Dearest comrades, all is over and long gone,
But love is not over–and what love, O comrades!
Perfume from battle-fields rising, up from the foetor arising.
Perfume therefore my chant, O love, immortal love,
Give me to bathe the memories of all dead soldiers,
Shroud them, embalm them, cover them all over with tender pride.
Perfume all–make all wholesome,
Make these ashes to nourish and blossom,
O love, solve all, fructify all with the last chemistry.
Give me exhaustless, make me a fountain,
That I exhale love from me wherever I go like a moist perennial dew,
For the ashes of all dead soldiers South or North.

COMMENTARY: The poem directly focuses on the deaths of soldiers which give the poem a somber, more melodramatic sad mood to the poem. He points out the hardships and adversities of the soldier which helps the reader appreciate the soldiers. The poem also makes the reader want to sympathize the soldiers, as their faces go pale, bodies deteriorate, and personality/spirits fall apart. The author tone’s is straight forward, telling the reader of the tales and tribulations of the soldiers and how their ashes/deaths should be honored. He seams very patriotic in caring for the deaths of soldiers.

In this poem Walt Whitman appears to be very neutral in the war. He supports both the South and North soldier. He does not seam to take sides, and favor one over the other. He seams to just evaluate the overall effects of war on the nation. It also appears to me that he wants to educate the public about something simple that most do not think about. Besides war the author also appears to have an infatuation with nature, and using elements of nature to describe subjects of his poetry.

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Posted by on March 4, 2010 in Whitman's Civil War Poetry



Alvin C. York

Heroes  in general are people who take it upon themselves to stand up for what they believe in at the expense of  material gains. or a dictionary definition is “A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life”

A war Hero is does exactly what a “regular” hero does only in the special time of war.

A war hero fights against soldiers who are doing the same but for an opposing cause.

A war hero is a soldier who exhibited bravery and solidarity in dangerous situation such as captivity

A war hero is someone who advances the potential of winning for their country in war.

A war hero is patriotic

A war hero does something courageous that is usually unexpected or unexplained.

A war hero usually saves the lives of others or escapes death by warfare himself

A war hero hero can sacrifice his own life for the better of his fellow army men or country.

A war hero has at least one metal or award.

But let it be know that to be considered a “war hero” it depends on the situation. As in who committed the heroic actions (is he worthy of the title), who was around to see the courageous deeds(was the good deed seen), and how the fans or people who admired the deeds plans to promote the actions and hero.

One war hero of War World one is Alvin C. York. His story appears allot that of the men from Flags of our Fathers. He is known for one incident only but it his actions were so effortless and ambitious that I choose him for my war hero.

Alvin Cullum York was born Dec 13 1887 in Pall Mall Tennessee. He was the third of ten children in a very religious traditional family. When his father in his 20s he began drinking, partying, and breaking laws but soon after began behaving after his mother begged him to. He joined the local in 1915 and as war approached his pasture encouraged him to enlist. York did not believe in war, or killing others because the Bible taught against such actions. So he filed a form four times saying he wanted to stay home as a conscientious objector but was rejected all four times. In November of 1917 York was drafted and sent to his training camp in Georgia. By the following May York had forgotten all his antiwar beliefs and was finally convinced by his captain that killing Germans was acceptable to save the lives of Americans and other Europeans. Young York was then shipped off to France with no intent of becoming a hero. He just wished to come back alive, but what he didn’t was that he would play a major role in wrapping up the war.

On October 8 1918 in the battle of Argonne he captured 132 prisoners, nearly single-handed meaning him and seventeen other men.  It is noted that he killed almost 30. York was an acting corporal (meaning he assigned himself the position on the spot) and lead the seventeen men in action against a German stronghold. His goal was to secure their position and return with German prisons. He initially began his journey by successfully coming under fire for a while and took a number of soldiers before the Germans even realized and began heavily firing upon the U.S. soldiers. York assigned 11 men to guard captured prisoners (because the six others had been killed) and preceded his attack on the German stronghold alone. York’s plan was to tackle each German gunner one by one with a ranged weapon. He successfully sniped 17 gunners after which he was charged by seven German soldiers. York someway or another killed all of them with only his pistol.

When he returned home, his story was similar to the soldier in Flags of our Fathers. He was adored by all and everyone wanted to hear his story. But he did not want to share his story and be a “war” hero. He tried to fade between the lines when in 1941 a man by the name of Jesse Lasky by the York story into a movie, starring Gary Cooper.

Born: 13-Dec-1887
Birthplace: Pall Mall, TN
Died: 2-Sept-1964
Location of death: Nashville, TN
Cause of death: Cerebral Hemorrhage
Remains: Buried, Wolf River Cemetery, Pall Mall, TN

ATTENTION: Interestingly enough Alvin C. York published a diary of his war experience. Short excerpts of his diary can be read at


Distinguished Service Cross

which was ungraded tothe Medal of Honor- presented to York by the commanding general of the American Expeditionary Force, General John J. Pershing.

The French Republic awarded him the Croix de Guerre  and Legion of honor

Italy and Montenergro awarded him the Croce de Guerra and War Medal respectively

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Posted by on February 10, 2010 in War Heroes



Paradise Lost by John Milton

For the seniors that remember reading Frankenstein last year in European Studies, Paradise Lost is the novel that the monster reads in his cave-like home, but I bet none of us know what the story is about.

Paradise lost is an epic poem written by John Milton from 1656–1674 in England. The story has lofty formal tragic tone written in third person with Milton as the narrator. Paradise lost is the story of how Adam and Eve were created and their expulsion from paradise, the garden of Eden. (That is the reason for the title “Paradise Lost”) The story also includes the findings of the first pages of Genesis. To add to that Paradise Lost includes the story of origin of Satan, how he was an angel Lucifer that lead followers in a war against god, resulting in his sentencing to hell.


The story begins in hell with Satan recuperating from the war he lost against god in heaven. Satan builds a palace and plans revenge. He decides to travel to the new world (the garden of Eden) and take revenge in a sly unsuspecting way, not to be known at the time.  His offspring Sin and Death unbar the gates of hell and he begins to wonder chaos till he finds a small globe next to heaven. During that time god sees Satan approaching, and predicts the downfall of man. His sun sitting next to him sacrifices himself for man’s salvation. Satan tricks an angel into letting him into the garden of Eden. Upon arrival he sees Adam and Eve and becomes instantly jealous. His whereabouts become known to the angels and he is kicked out of the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are warned about Satan and taught that the world was created so that mankind someday could replace the fallen angels in Heaven. Eventually Satan finds a way back into the Garden of Eden in the form of a snake. Finding Even alone he persuades her to eat fruit from the forbidden tree. Eve was so amazed by a talking animal and thought that the serpent had learned to talk by eating fruit from the forbidden tree. She eats the fruit and is given the punishment of expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Adam rather then life a life of solitude, eats the fruit also and joins Even in banishment. The two are punished with pain and death. Eve had to suffer the pain of childbirth and Adam and all men must hunt and grow their own food on a depleted earth. Sin and Death (Satan’s sons) build a highway to earth from hell to come live in their new home. On return to hell Satan and all his followers are turned into serpents as punishment. The book ends with Adam hoping for the savior of man kind.

Adam and Eve banished from the Garden of Eden

Now for John Milton….

John Milton was born in London in 1608. He was a very religious person, and his fathers wealth allowed him to receive the education that he wanted. In 1625, Milton was accepted and admitted to Christ’s College, Cambridge. He found that college life was not his thing, and returned home to study on his own. While living at home he wrote poetry and formed marriages. In fact he was married three times in his lifetime. Milton now traveled the world and wrote leisurely and he please. Note, he did not have to work much because his father was very wealthy. In the 1660s his spent his time tutoring students, and in 1663 finished his life’s work Paradise Lost. Paradise Lost was published in 1667, followed by basically it’s sequel Paradise Regained in 1671. Shorty after Milton died peacefully of gout in November, 1674, and was buried in the church of St. Giles, Cripplegate.

John Milton

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Posted by on December 3, 2009 in Malcolm X