Wilfred Owen: Poems

The Dead-Beat

He dropped,—more sullenly than wearily,

Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat,

And none of us could kick him to his feet;

Just blinked at my revolver, blearily;

—Didn't appear to know a war was on,

Or see the blasted trench at which he stared.

"I'll do 'em in," he whined, "If this hand's spared,

I'll murder them, I will."

A low voice said,

"It's Blighty, p'raps, he sees; his pluck's all gone,

Dreaming of all the valiant, that AREN'T dead:

Bold uncles, smiling ministerially;

Maybe his brave young wife, getting her fun

In some new home, improved materially.

It's not these stiffs have crazed him; nor the Hun."

We sent him down at last, out of the way.

Unwounded;—stout lad, too, before that strafe.

Malingering? Stretcher-bearers winked, "Not half!"

Next day I heard the Doc.'s well-whiskied laugh:

"That scum you sent last night soon died. Hooray!"