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On the Wire Analysis



Author: Poetry of Robert W. Service Type: Poetry Views: 187

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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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