The Great War

from War Daubs: Poems, an electronic edition

Denial

If I should die--chatter only this:--

' A bullet flew by that did not miss!'

I did not give life up because of a friend ;

That bullet came thro', and that was the end !

Don't put up a cross where my dung will be laid,

But scatter some wheat--and bread will be made ;

Don't say I'm a hero because I was shot;

A bullet won't make one what one is not.

Don't scribble my name upon Honour's scroll

And plaster it up on the Churches hall:

What honour is there in being forced to die ?

We slaughter a pig--but we make it a fry !

And what are the odds 'tween the pig and I ?

The pig can't help dying--he is forced to die ;

And so with myself, when a bullet comes thro'

I simply must die--then why the ado?

Oh! if I should die--chatter only this--

'A bullet flew by that did not miss';

I did not give life up because of a friend;

That bullet came thro'—and voilà, the end!'