First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The Survivor Comes Home

THE SURVIVOR COMES HOME by ROBERT GRAVES

Despair and doubt in the blood: Autumn, a smell rotten-sweet: What stirs in the drenching wood? What drags at my heart, my feet? What stirs in the wood?

Nothing stirs, nothing cries. Run weasel, cry bird for me, Comfort my ears, soothe my eyes! Horror on ground, over tree! Nothing calls, nothing flies.

Once in a blasted wood, A shrieking fevered waste, We jeered at Death where he stood: I jeered, I too had a taste Of Death in the wood.

Am I alive and the rest Dead, all dead? sweet friends With the sun they have journeyed west; For me now night never ends, A night without rest.

Death, your revenge is ripe. Spare me! but can Death spare? Must I leap, howl to your pipe Because I denied you there? Your vengeance is ripe.

Death, ay, terror of Death: If I laughed at you, scorned you, now You flash in my eyes, choke my breath... 'Safe home.' Safe? Twig and bough Drip, drip, drip with Death!

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