The Dead Man Walking

They hail me as one living,
     But don’t they know
That I have died of late years,
     Untombed although?
 
I am but a shape that stands here,
     A pulseless mould,
A pale past picture, screening
     Ashes gone cold.
 
Not at a minute’s warning,
     Not in a loud hour,
For me ceased Time’s enchantments
     In hall and bower.
 
There was no tragic transit,
     No catch of breath,
When silent seasons inched me
     On to this death . . . .
 
—A Troubadour—youth I rambled
     With Life for lyre,
The beats of being raging
     In me like fire.
 
But when I practised eyeing
     The goal of men,
It iced me, and I perished
     A little then.
 
When passed my friend, my kinsfolk,
     Through the Last Door,
And left me standing bleakly,
     I died yet more;
 
And when my Love’s heart kindled
     In hate of me,
Wherefore I knew not, died I
     One more degree.
 
And if when I died fully
     I cannot say,
And changed into the corpse—thing
     I am to—day,
 
Yet is it that, though whiling
     The time somehow
In walking, talking, smiling,
     I live not now.

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