First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The Survivor

THE SURVIVOR by ROBERT GRAVES

To die with a forlorn hope, but soon to be raised By hags, the spoilers of the field, to elude their claws And stand once more on a well-swept parade-ground, Scarred and bemedalled, sword upright in fist At head of a new undaunted company:

Is this joy?---to be doubtless alive again, And the others dead? Will your nostrils gladly savour The fragrance, always new, of a first hedge-rose? Will your ears be charmed by the thrush's melody Sung as though he had himself devised it?

And is this joy: after the double suicide (Heart against heart) to be restored entire, To smooth your hair and wash away the life-blood, And presently seek a young and innocent bride, Whispering in the dark: 'for ever and ever'?

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