But it is elegies such as "Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night," "Reconciliation," and "As I Lay with My Head in Your Lap Camerado" that allow Whitman to express himself unrestrainedly.
In "Reconciliation," the speaker's tenderness for the fallen soldier overpowers the enmity between armies, in terms that anticipate Wilfred Owen's "Strange Meeting": "my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead, / I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin--I draw near, / Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin."
As I Lay with My Head in Your Lap Camerado
As I lay with my head in your lap camerado,
The confession I made I resume, what I said to you and the open air
I know I am restless and make others so,
I know my words are weapons full of danger, full of death,
For I confront peace, security, and all the settled laws, to
I am more resolute because all have denied me than I could ever have
been had all accepted me,
I heed not and have never heeded either experience, cautions,
majorities, nor ridicule,
And the threat of what is call'd hell is little or nothing to me,
And the lure of what is call'd heaven is little or nothing to me;
Dear camerado! I confess I have urged you onward with me, and still
urge you, without the least idea what is our destination,
Or whether we shall be victorious, or utterly quell'd and defeated.