Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEAD IN HIS BED, by ADDIE LUCIA BALLOU



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DEAD IN HIS BED, by            
First Line: Only a man dead in his bed - that is all!
Last Line: Than wait till he's passed in his checks over there!
Subject(s): Strangers


ONLY a man dead in his bed -- that is all!
Stark, stiff, and rigid -- white face to the wall.

Come out of yesterday somewhere, to here --
Well, no: don't think he had friends anywheres near.

Wanted employment -- that's what he said;
No work to give him -- next thing, he's dead.

What did he die of, sir? Can any one tell?
A fit, did they think it was? Last night he was well.

Heart-disease? May be. What was his name?
Don't know; didn't register, sir, when he came.

Laud'num, they say it was, there on the stand --
No, stranger; don't reckon he held a fair hand.

Suicide? Yes, that's what the coroner said --
Scooped out, was what put the thing into his head.

Money? Guess not, sir. Why, he hadn't enough
To pay for this hole in the sod, of the stuff.

Friends, did you ask? Oh, yes! Sometime or other --
Reckon, of course, the boy once had a mother.

Rather rough on him, pard; but where's it to end,
When you're panned out of cash and can't count on a friend?

Down to the calaboose -- that's where they took him;
Good enough place, when a man's money's forsook him!

Funeral? Just you see that express at the coroner's!
County can't pay for no hearse, nor no mourners.

Well, stranger, you've got me! Can pray if you will --
Rather late in the day, when a man's dead and still.

Strikes me, it don't count, to this, under my spade;
And as for the rest of him -- stranger, that's played.

No offence, sir; beg pardon, but strikes me as fair,
And a pretty sure way to get answer to prayer,

Better give a poor devil a lift while he's here,
Than wait till he's passed in his checks over there!





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