The Great War

from Retrogression and Other Poems: Electronic Edition


BEHOLD a sapless husk, in name a man,

That never shook with laughter at a jest,

Or flashed in anger at a hateful deed,

Or loved a woman, or sinned a headlong sin!

In two score years grown old and moribund,

His lean soul, arid as the childless sands,

Crumbles, and dustily disintegrates,

Dies piecemeal, less lamented than a tree.

It is not the well-warmed, well-peopled house

That soonest falls to wrack. 'Tis the disused

And empty dwelling, that with fireless hearth,

Pictureless walls, and shuttered window panes,

Coldly, untimely mopes into decay.