Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

Dead! - Poem by Alfred Austin

Hush! or you'll wake her. Softly tread!
She slumbers in her little bed.
What do I see? A coffin! Dead?
Yes, dead at break of morning.

No, no, it cannot, cannot be!
I know that I can wake her. See!
She only plays at sleep. Ma mie,
Kiss me, for it is morning.

Look, pretty, look! Within, without,
Snowdrops and hyacinths lie about.
Why don't you clutch them with a shout
Blither than birds of morning?

You used to clap your hands with glee,
When I brought flowers. ``Are these for me?''
Now, now, you neither scent nor see
These incense-buds of morning.

Do you not know me, pet? Speak! speak!
There is no answer in her cheek.
To find her now where shall I seek?-
Seek in the vanished morning!

What can I do to make her heed?
I am crying, love; I am indeed.
Open your eyes and see. What need
To tease me all the morning?

Look! We will sally forth and play;
Ramble, and never ask our way,
Lessons and tasks all put away,
As though it were not morning.

We will do all that you desire,
And I will never, never tire
Of romping with you by the fire,
When 'tis no longer morning.

Your favourite tales, oft told before,
I'll tell you, darling, o'er and o'er;
It never shall be bedtime more,
Will you but wake this morning.

I will not ask you to sit still;
You shall be naughty when you will;
Shall spill my ink and spoil my quill,
And squander all my morning.

Alas! Alas! it is no cheat!
Quiet she lies from face to feet!
No smile, no sigh, no hue, no heat,
No earnest of the morning.

Draw high the sheet above her head.
She liked it, so. Dead? No, not dead.
The angels, hovering round her bed,
Will greet her in the morning.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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