STARING corpselike at the ceiling,
See his harsh, unrazored features,
Ghastly brown against the pillow,
And his throat so strangely bandaged!
Lack of work and lack of victuals,
A debauch of smuggled whisky,
And his children in the workhouse
Made the world so black a riddle
That he plunged for a solution;
And, although his knife was edgeless,
He was sinking fast towards one,
When they came, and found, and saved him.
Stupid now with shame and sorrow,
In the night I hear him sobbing.
But sometimes he talks a little.
He has told me all his troubles.
In his broad face, tanned and bloodless,
White and wild his eyeballs glisten;
And his smile, occult and tragic,
Yet so slavish, makes you shudder!
Henley, W. E. "In Hospital." Poems. 2nd edition. London: David Nutt, 1889. Pp. 37-38.
Last modified 26 November 2004