Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. THE DEAD COMRADE, by EDWARD CARPENTER



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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. THE DEAD COMRADE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There among the woods, after the battle returning
Last Line: And faint in death the lips I love so well.
Subject(s): Brotherhood; Death; Love; Mourning; Soldiers; War; Dead, The; Bereavement


There among the woods, after the battle returning,
In a little open spot—how well I remember it—
Where the ground was red with the blood of my lover, my dead comrade,
(Him whom to save I would have died so gladly, O so gladly,
Whom I could not at this, at any time, bear to see suffer even a little hurt
So tenderly we loved, so tenderly.)
There on the stained, red ground, in the midst of the clotted precious blood,
not even yet dry, stood a small yellow flower—
The little Cow-wheat they call it, with its slender yellow blossoms in pairs,
and its faint-tinged lips.

And now in the woods each year—in the silent beautiful woods, so calm, so
sweet—though the same flowers spring by the hundreds—
Not a word do they utter of that awful scene, not a word of all that carnage,
Of the splintered trees, the blood-smeared corpses, the devilish noises and the
sights and smells,
Or of the livid face and faint-blue lips of him I loved as never another I could
love.

O how can you grow so careless, little flowers, and yet continue ages to grow
under the trees the same—
And all the light gone out of the world for me?
Each year when summer comes and July suns,
To the woods I must go like one drawn by a fatal dread and fascination,
To see the sight I most abhor to see—
The patch of blood, and the unharmed flower in the midst,
And faint in death the lips I love so well.





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