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The Hyaenas

by
 After the burial-parties leave
 And the baffled kites have fled;
The wise hyaenas come out at eve
 To take account of our dead.
How he died and why he died Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the bushes and stones aside And dig till they come to it.
They are only resolute they shall eat That they and their mates may thrive, And they know that the dead are safer meat Than the weakest thing alive.
(For a goat may butt, and a worm may sting, And a child will sometimes stand; But a poor dead soldier of the King Can never lift a hand.
) They whoop and halloo and scatter the dirt Until their tushes white Take good hold in the army shirt, And tug the corpse to light, And the pitiful face is shewn again For an instant ere they close; But it is not discovered to living men -- Only to God and to those Who, being soulless, are free from shame, Whatever meat they may find.
Nor do they defile the dead man's name -- That is reserved for his kind.

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