The Great War

from War Daubs: Poems, an electronic edition

A Dead Man

A dead man dead for weeks

Is sickening food for lover's eye

That seeks and ever seeks

A fair one's beauty ardently !

Did that thing live of late ?

That sodden thing of ebony head

With empty holes that gape ?

Good God ! will I be that, when dead ?

Perhaps those blackened bones

Were subtly fashioned hand and wrist

That made sweet violin tones,

Or held a face till lips had kissed !

Perhaps--but, no ! it cannot be,

This thing is but a heap of slime--

A hideous mockery--

The man is safe from rotting Time :

Then stick it under ground !

It is a thing for spades not tears;

And make no mourning sound,

And finished, have no fears :

For, glowing in some woman's heart,

He lives embalmed, unchanging, and apart !

Then come ! let's kill the memory of this place--

O friends ! it had a hideous, ebony face !