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On The Wire Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 0

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O God, take the sun from the sky!

    It's burning me, scorching me up.

God, can't You hear my cry?

   Water! A poor, little cup!

It's laughing, the cursed sun!

    See how it swells and swells

Fierce as a hundred hells!

    God, will it never have done?

It's searing the flesh on my bones;

    It's beating with hammers red

My eyeballs into my head;

    It's parching my very moans.

See! It's the size of the sky,

    And the sky is a torrent of fire,

Foaming on me as I lie

    Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Of the thousands that wheeze and hum

    Heedlessly over my head,

Why can't a bullet come,

    Pierce to my brain instead,

Blacken forever my brain,

    Finish forever my pain?

Here in the hellish glare

    Why must I suffer so?

Is it God doesn't care?

    Is it God doesn't know?

Oh, to be killed outright,

    Clean in the clash of the fight!

That is a golden death,

    That is a boon; but this . . .

Drawing an anguished breath

    Under a hot abyss,

Under a stooping sky

    Of seething, sulphurous fire,

Scorching me up as I lie

    Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Hasten, O God, Thy night!

    Hide from my eyes the sight

Of the body I stare and see

    Shattered so hideously.

I can't believe that it's mine.

    My body was white and sweet,

Flawless and fair and fine,

    Shapely from head to feet;

Oh no, I can never be

    The thing of horror I see

Under the rifle fire,

    Trussed on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Of night and of death I dream;

    Night that will bring me peace,

Coolness and starry gleam,

    Stillness and death's release:

Ages and ages have passed, --

    Lo! it is night at last.

Night! but the guns roar out.

    Night! but the hosts attack.

Red and yellow and black

    Geysers of doom upspout.

Silver and green and red

    Star-shells hover and spread.

Yonder off to the right

    Fiercely kindles the fight;

Roaring near and more near,

    Thundering now in my ear;

Close to me, close . . . Oh, hark!

    Someone moans in the dark.

I hear, but I cannot see,

    I hear as the rest retire,

Someone is caught like me,

    Caught on the wire . . . the wire. . . .

Again the shuddering dawn,

    Weird and wicked and wan;

Again, and I've not yet gone.

    The man whom I heard is dead.

Now I can understand:

    A bullet hole in his head,

A pistol gripped in his hand.

    Well, he knew what to do, --

Yes, and now I know too. . . .


Hark the resentful guns!

    Oh    , how thankful am I

To think my beloved ones

    Will never know how I die!

I've suffered more than my share;

I'm shattered beyond repair;

I've fought like a man the fight,

And now I demand the right

(God! how his fingers cling!)

To do without shame this thing.

Good! there's a bullet still;

    Now I'm ready to fire;

Blame me, God, if You will,

    Here on the wire . . . the wire. . . .


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