William Ernest Henley (1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)
Staring corpselike at the ceiling,
See his harsh, unrazored features,
Ghastly brown against the pillow,
And his throat-so strangely bandaged!
Lack of work and lack of victuals,
A debauch of smuggled whisky,
And his children in the workhouse
Made the world so black a riddle
That he plunged for a solution;
And, although his knife was edgeless,
He was sinking fast towards one,
When they came, and found, and saved him.
Stupid now with shame and sorrow,
In the night I hear him sobbing.
But sometimes he talks a little.
He has told me all his troubles.
In his broad face, tanned and bloodless,
White and wild his eyeballs glisten;
And his smile, occult and tragic,
Yet so slavish, makes you shudder!
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