Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
The Blind And The Dead
She lay like a saint on her copper couch;
Like an angel asleep she lay,
In the stare of the ghoulish folks that slouch
Past the Dead and sneak away.
Then came old Jules of the sightless gaze,
Who begged in the streets for bread.
Each day he had come for a year of days,
And groped his way to the Dead.
"What's the Devil's Harvest to-day?" he cried;
"A wanton with eyes of blue!
I've known too many a such," he sighed;
"Maybe I know this . . . mon Dieu!"
He raised the head of the heedless Dead;
He fingered the frozen face. . . .
Then a deathly spell on the watchers fell --
God! it was still, that place!
He raised the head of the careless Dead;
He fumbled a vagrant curl;
And then with his sightless smile he said:
"It's only my little girl."
"Dear, my dear, did they hurt you so!
Come to your daddy's heart. . . ."
Aye, and he held so tight, you know,
They were hard to force apart.
No! Paris isn't always gay;
And the morgue has its stories too:
You are a writer of tales, you say --
Then there is a tale for you.
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