As with varnish red and glistening
Dripped his hair; his feet looked rigid;
Raised, he settled stiffly sideways:
You could see his hurts were spinal.
He had fallen from an engine,
And been dragged along the metals.
It was hopeless, and they knew it;
So they covered him, and left him.
As he lay, by fits half sentient,
With his stockinged soles protruded
Stark and awkward from the blankets,
To his bed there came a woman,
Stood and looked and sighed a little,
And departed without speaking,
As himself a few hours after.
I was told it was his sweetheart.
They were on the eve of marriage.
She was quiet as a statue,
But her lip was grey and writhen.
Henley, W. E. "In Hospital." Poems. 2nd edition. London: David Nutt, 1889. Pp. 21-22.
Last modified 26 November 2004