English poetry

Poems in English



To One Shortly to Die

1
FROM all the rest I single out you, having a message for you:
You are to die-Let others tell you what they please, I cannot prevaricate,
I am exact and merciless, but I love you-There is no escape for you.

Softly I lay my right hand upon you-you just feel it,
I do not argue-I bend my head close, and half envelope it,
I sit quietly by-I remain faithful,
I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor,
I absolve you from all except yourself, spiritual, bodily-that is eternal-you
yourself will surely escape,
The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious.

2
The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions!
Strong thoughts fill you, and confidence-you smile!
You forget you are sick, as I forget you are sick,
You do not see the medicines-you do not mind the weeping friends-I am with you,
I exclude others from you-there is nothing to be commiserated,
I do not commiserate-I congratulate you.

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Poem To One Shortly to Die - Walt Whitman