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Experiment 8

To A Still-Born Hero

page 34

To A Still-Born Hero

It is indeed as strange a bier as any,
that on which you lie,
your hands rosaried together on your chest,
you, ashen-faced warrior.
You could have lain quietly,
for a while,
draining yourself away
into their porous texture,
on those red, dusty tiles in the corner
where nobody plays,
to keep away
the irreparable ruin
you would wreak
upon the green baize
of the billiard table.
Nobody would have minded.
they could have stretched you on a ladder,
and left you on the ground, outside,
by the rubbish bin,
under the washing line,
the way that other hero,
who was still-born and knew it not,
that young friend of yours
was left,
in that other farm-house.

What is a dead man
who is going to lose the war,
if not a bit of dirt,
a mound of fleshy bones,
a still-born hero?

should have thought
of the green, green baize
on the billiard table.