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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!"

Poem by Wilfred Owen
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