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Walt Whitman's "Come Up from the Fields, Father"

The following is the complete text of Walt Whitman's "Come Up from the Fields, Father." The various eBooks, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project. To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.


Visit these other Walt Whitman poems
"Ashes of Soldiers"
"A Boston Ballad"
Short Poems by Walt Whitman
"Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"
"Mannahatta"
"On the Beach at Night"
"Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"
"Prayer of Columbus"

"There Was a Child Went Forth"
"To a Locomotive in Winter"
"Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night"
"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed"
"Who Learns My Lesson Complete"
"Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand"
"The Wound-Dresser"


Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.


NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"Come Up from the Fields, Father" by Walt Whitman

Come Up from the Fields, Father

by Walt Whitman


"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 trellised 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,
Be 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 smooth her white hair nor adjust her cap.

Open the envelope quickly,
O this is not our son's writing, yet his name is signed,
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, "
gunshot 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 dismayed,
"See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be better."

Alas, poor boy, he will never be better, (nor maybe 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 untouched, 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.



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