Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RESUSCITATION, by AUGUSTE VACQUERIE



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RESUSCITATION, by            
First Line: So now you're cured (such the great news we hear)
Last Line: To raise the dead is nothing--but the heart.


SO now you're cured (such the great news we hear)
Of that complaint, ne'er ending and severe,
Which for these eighteen months has rung your knell,
And you are really safe and sound. Ah, well!
Struggling, and like a weight we fail to lift,
You seemed aye deeper down the grave to drift,
Where the earth held you with a willing clasp,
With half of you already in its grasp.
And here you walk out of the earth, and come
Cured, brisk, and bid your passing bell be dumb,
Fresh, supple, young, triumphant. Ah, poor soul!
Life has returned, your joy you can't control.
You go about embracing all you meet,
Each moment pull your watch from its retreat,
And count and study with surprised dismay
How swiftly flies an hour of health away.
The world is as a merry poem viewed;
You live, and death himself you have subdued.
My friend, I pity you: if you had heard,
When your death sure, the man of drugs averred,
Your wife burst out with a terrific sob,
Your children too--ah, 'twas a dreadful job.
All swore to follow you, too much they need
Your help; they vow, protest, for pity plead.
You dead? You poked in the cold, clammy earth?
What, with a thought like this, could life be worth?
But you were always dying, never dead,
And thus unused, these early transports fled;
Your scruples so confirmed, so whimsical,
'Gainst being screwed down nicely once for all,
Allowed them time their spirits to retrieve,
For all things weary grow, yes e'en to grieve.
Besides, your friends rung at your door all day,
And cried, each hour takes some of us away;
The sire to-day, the mother yields her breath
To-morrow, for all roads conduct to death.
And since we there are sure our friends to find,
What matters which goes first, which stops behind?
Why, then, should those be wept who pass away?
Full oft they're happier far than those who stay.
Then weep not, rather envy those who die,
The heaviest weights on the survivors lie.
Months passed; then on a day they said that you,
A prey to pangs which ever fiercer grew,
Lay eighteen months, and that a prompt decease
Was better far to give your woes release
Than such a struggle. Soon as this once said,
Your friends for very pity wished you dead--
Prayers for your death they openly avow;
They blame your slow delays; none scruple now
To go their way, their farms and fields to seek,
And none of you or of your illness speak.
The grave half opened, they remembered not
You lived, while e'en your loss the world forgot.
And this the time you choose once more to rise,
Your busy scattered children to surprise,
And from your dismal tomb's recess accost
To raise you. What's the matter with your ghost?
Weren't you well wept? Pray, who has done you wrong?
Many fine ghosts with less have held their tongue.
You laugh and think you live: I mourn you dead;
Your corpse is the gone love of those you bred.
Poor wretch, thus cared--who play the victor's part,
To raise the dead is nothing--but the heart.





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