Walt Whitman’s seven-line, one-sentence poem, “Cavalry crossing a Ford,” documents an plain scene in the American polite War: the crossing of some unnamed flow by a nondescript unit that cavalry. While the poem is ostensibly a an easy sketch of this soldiers, by showing the soldiers indigenous a variety of vantage...

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Walt Whitman’s seven-line, one-sentence poem, “Cavalry crossing a Ford,” documents an simple scene in the American civil War: the cross of some unnamed flow by a nondescript unit of cavalry. When the poem is ostensibly a straightforward sketch of these soldiers, by reflecting the soldiers indigenous a range of vantage points, the poet challenges the reader’s concept of the term “cavalry,” replacing the aggressive term v the photo of a team of individual men.

together if the poet to be drifting downstream in a canoe, the poem starts by viewing the soldiers indigenous afar, together a “line in lengthy array.” He move close sufficient to view that “each person a picture,” climate moves away again. All the while, the flags space visible, fluttering “gaily in the wind” over the soldiers.

The poem’s title presents a clear, concrete image. However, the language of the first line is strange abstract. Instead of a group of soldiers, the poet reflects “a line” winding in between “green islands.” The soldiers room fused as one (the line), and also the just concrete noun in the first line is the “islands.” The focus here is ~ above the aesthetic imagery, not the marshal nature that the scene. Native the poet’s perspective, this armed forces unit is much more of an adornment or adjunct that the natural people than a fighting force.

In the 2nd line the soldiers begin to end up being distinct. The poet note the speed of the soldiers’s arms and describes the “musical clank” of your equipment. Moving closer still, the loitering horses become clear in line 3. Finally, in line 4, the leader sees the soldiers themselves, “brown-faced men, each group, each human a picture.” These guys are veterans, their encounters tanned by lengthy months in the field. They lean negligently in their saddles. The word “negligent” here says confidence and self-possession fairly than disregard.

In the next line, the poet starts to pan back; probably he is drifting downstream from the soldiers. The reader now sees the soldiers as a group again, quiet a heat stretched throughout the river. The heat is still winding; some soldiers leave the river as others enter it—a flow of soldiers crossing the flow of water.

as much as this allude in the poem, the syntax that the sentence has actually bound everything together. Commas, dashes, and also imperative commands, such together “behold,” direct the leader to one thing, then another. Each of these pictures is somehow independent, self-reliant. However, the last two lines are associated to the remainder of the city by a conjunction: “while.” The connect emphasizes that the red, white, and blue flags that fly in the last two lines execute so as whatever else in the poem happens.

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In these last 2 lines, the image of the flags contrasts markedly v the remainder of the poem. Conversely, the first five currently of the poem define men and also nature intertwined, the flags are set apart. If the guys are veterans, the flags room bright and clean— “scarlet” and also “snowy white,” they have actually not been dimmed and also dirtied by months of campaigning. Further, their gay fluttering is in ~ odds v the negligence the the soldiers. Hence the reader is left to wonder whether the flags act together a unifying image, or as something distinct from the river, the horses, and the men.