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1861

by
 AARM’D year! year of the struggle! 
No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year! 
Not you as some pale poetling, seated at a desk, lisping cadenzas piano; 
But as a strong man, erect, clothed in blue clothes, advancing, carrying a rifle on your
 shoulder, 
With well-gristled body and sunburnt face and hands—with a knife in the belt at your
 side,
As I heard you shouting loud—your sonorous voice ringing across the continent; 
Your masculine voice, O year, as rising amid the great cities, 
Amid the men of Manhattan I saw you, as one of the workmen, the dwellers in Manhattan; 
Or with large steps crossing the prairies out of Illinois and Indiana, 
Rapidly crossing the West with springy gait, and descending the Alleghanies;
Or down from the great lakes, or in Pennsylvania, or on deck along the Ohio river; 
Or southward along the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers, or at Chattanooga on the mountain
 top, 
Saw I your gait and saw I your sinewy limbs, clothed in blue, bearing weapons, robust
 year; 
Heard your determin’d voice, launch’d forth again and again; 
Year that suddenly sang by the mouths of the round-lipp’d cannon,
I repeat you, hurrying, crashing, sad, distracted year.

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