The Dead Men
<poem> IT was yesterday I heard again The dead man talk with living men, And watched the thread of converse go Among the speakers to and fro, Woven with merriment and wit And beauty to embroider it ; And in the middle now and then, The laughter clear of happy men Only to me a charnel scent Drifted across the argument, Only to me his fair young head Was lifeless and untenanted, And in his quiet even tones, I heard the sound of naked bones, And in his empty eyes could see The man who talked was dead, like me. Then in the conversation's swim, I leaned across and spoke to him,
And in his dim and dreary eyes Read suddenly a strange surprise, And in the touch of his dank hand, Knew that he too could understand ; So we two talked, and as we heard Our friends' applause of each dull word We felt the slow and mournful winds Blow through the corpse house of our minds, And the cool dark of underground. And all the while they sat around Weighing each listless thing we said, And did not know that we were dead.