Trench Poets1I knew a man, he was my chum1,
but he grew blacker1 every day,
and would not brush the flies away,
nor blanch1 however fierce the hum
of passing shells; I used to read,
to rouse1 him, random things from Donne1--
like "Get with child a mandrake-root3."
But you can tell he was far gone,
for he lay gaping, mackerel-eyed1,
and stiff, and senseless as a post1
even when that old poet cried
" I long to talk with some old lover's ghost."
I tried the Elegies1 one day,
but he, because he heard me say:
" What needst thou have more covering than a man?"1
grinned nastily, and so I knew the
worms had got his brains at last.
There was one thing that I might do
to starve the worms; I racked my head
for healthy things and quoted Maud2.
His grin got worse and I could see