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The Postman & the Pals

Though old with the obscenity of war,

it draws him still, in all its atrocity,

better is he with the privations of hell

and the last peel of the last bell

than as the bringer of such heartbreak;

telegrams curt on papers buff, that sear

and stab the flesh to heart, as burning steel.

He prays that dawn leaves them with sleep,

before they will weep when tragedy falls

from his hand;

the new day's light will work the terrace

rows along, yet it will gain no purchase on

the drawn curtains;

no Sun, fanned to rainbows in the room this day,

when the drapes pulled too will stay. no warm

parlour-cheer behind those black ribbon doors;

the looms will be still, silent factory and mill,

no ale will be pulled, no crying bairn lulled,

shops will be shut, none shall work the cut

they won't be back they of the houses black;

they left with a song, for pride and stories long,

but the scything guns, cut down our sons,

unto tatters and bones and tidy white stones;

of these chains, his burden, he does not speak,

this man of grace and wounds unseen

who carries a leper's mark of Cain,

his satchel full of young men slain,

there are so many, one for every door,

he left his unopened, where it fell

from his fingers to the floor.

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