The Dead Man Walking

by Thomas Hardy


They hail me as one living,
   But donít they know
That I have died of late years,
   Untombed although ?
I am but a shape that stands here,
   A pulseless mould,
A pale past picture, screening
   Ashes gone cold.
Not at a minuteís warning,
   Not in a loud hour,
For me ceased Timeís enchantments
   In hall and bower.
There was no tragic transit,
   No catch of breath,
When silent seasons inched me
   On to this death. . . .
―A Troubadour-youth I rambled
   With Life for lyre,
The beats of being raging
   In me like fire.
But when I practiced eyeing
   The goal of men,
It iced me, and I perished
   A little then.
When passed my friend, my kinsfolk,
   Through the Last Door,
And left me standing bleakly,
   I died yet more ;
And when my Loveís heart kindled
   In hate of me,
Wherefore I knew not, died I
   One more degree.
And if when I died fully
   I cannot say,
And changed into the corpse-thing
   I am today,
Yet is it that, though whiling
   The time somehow
In walking, talking, smiling,
   I live not now.
Thomas Hardy | Classic Poems

Afterwards ] At Castle Boterel ] The Darkling Thrush ] On the Departure Platform ] The Robin ] [ The Dead Man Walking ]






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