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In the poem “Vigil Strange I Kept in the Field One Night,” the author Walt Whitman has a very unique style of writing what he has to say. He is a type of individual who is not afraid of what other people think about him. Throughout Whitman’s poem, he shares with the reader the warring contraries and by doing this he achieves his poetic victory. There is a lot of thought that Whitman contributes to the poem “Vigil Strange I Kept in the Field One Night” that the reader may take into perspective. He writes down different warring contraries that related to one another throughout the poem. War and peace is an example if two words being opposite from one another. By using the words opposites, is Whitman’s way of catching the reader’s attention. Whitman writes, “Found you in death so cold, dear comrade-found your body, son of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,) Bared your face in the starlight-curios the scene-cool blew the moderate night-wind” (Whitman 123). The words “cool,” “blew,” and “kisses” are the type of words that a person would think of during a happy moment. During this time it was war-not a happy moment. Whitman has the ability to use those word’s opposites, such as battlefields, death, and comrade. Whitman does a good job using different words in a poem and defining them and their opposites. He does this in a different way though. He does not use one words direct opposite. He uses words that are opposite in someone’s thought, such as kisses, and battlefield. He does this in a way to catch the reader’s attention and thought. There are people who can not understand how Whitman achieve poetic victory from this kind of writing, while others may think that Whitman’s writing is very interesting. When people read the poems that Whitman writes, that person has to be in the poem themselves. One way of being in the poem is the reader replaces themselves with a character. So whatever is happening to the character, the reader has to think that it is happening to them. Another way the reader can be in the story is they have to think what they would do if they are put in a certain situation as the character is in. Whitman is writing down his own thoughts and ideas. Each person is different from one another, and that is where the argument comes up, how does an author achieve poetic victory. Each has their own idea of achieving poetic victory. A person may read the poem differently than another. Because people read it differently, they understand it differently. Whitman achieves his poetic victory be writing down his thoughts and ideas. This is something an individual has achieved throughout time. He is one of the greatest, one of the first to write this well. It is Whitman’s victory, and no one else. People may disagree with what Whitman is trying to get across by arguing about his ideas and making a scene out of a subject such as war and peace. Even though people complain, they cannot take away someone’s victory such as Whitman’s. Personally I think that no one can argue with what each person thinks poetic victory really is.

Although I think that poetic victory is a person’s own opinion, there are two different ways if looking at this. A person may understand what Whitman is trying to get across to them, while others may not understand what is being read. It may be confusing at times, but if the reader takes their time, sits down and thinks what they are reading they will understand what the author is trying to point out. When I read this poem that, I closed my eyes and could see what Whitman was talking about, by replacing myself with a character. He expresses his thought like no other writer during his time. Whitman writes, “Vigil final for you, brave boy, (I could not save you, swift ways your death, I faithfully loved you and cared for you living- I think we shall surely meet again)” (Whitman 123). Whitman is talking about losing a soldier in war that was like a son to him. It is a sad thought that Whitman is writing, but he slowly enlightens the thought of losing someone close by saying he will see the boy in a better place. It points out to the reader that both Whitman and the boy know that they will soon meet with one another. The reader might be able to relate to what Whitman is trying to get across to the them. It takes a lot of energy out of the reader to understand the warring contraries. The topics which Whitman talks about are very forceful. An example is the young boy dying while Whitman thought of him as his own son. There has to be a point to these topics, and the author has to prove his point. Whitman had strong opinions and a workable mind that affected his writing improve throughout the years. People learn differently. While people read they have to open their thoughts to expand in their reading. Each thinks differently about ones’ victory. There are different definitions that people think what poetic victory really is. I think it depends on how the author feels about themselves and not what other people think about them. Whitman achieves this. Whitman writes a different way of poetry. It is a different way because he expresses his thought very clearly about each topic. It helps the people today think about opposites and how they are different but have similarities. It also helps the people think about the way Whitman wrote in his time compared to the authors that write today.


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